Word of the Day

Friday, June 23, 2000


\RIB-uhld; RY-bawld\ , adjective;
Characterized by or given to vulgar humor; coarse.
A ribald person; a lewd fellow.
Mr. Plummer's Barrymore delights you with his own delight in his silly, ribald jokes (most of which are unprintable here).
-- Ben Brantley, "A Dazzler of a Drunk, Full of Gab and Grief", New York Times, March 26, 1997
The blues took form in the late nineteenth century as a musical synthesis that combined "worksongs, group seculars, field hollers, sacred harmonies, proverbial wisdom, folk philosophy, political commentary, ribald humor and elegiac lament."
-- Constance Valis Hill, Brotherhood in Rhythm
Their contrasting habits and preoccupations are telling and endearing: Piccard, the fussy one, sleeps in pajamas, Jones in the nude. Piccard scribbles homages in his journal to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, while Jones tosses off ribald limericks.
-- Louise Jarvis, "Are We There Yet?", New York Times, November 14, 1999
Ribald derives from Old French ribaud, from riber, "to be wanton," from Old High German riban, "to be amorous" (originally, "to rub").
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