\ \ [13] Ribald was originally a noun, a derogatory term meaning ‘retainer or dependent of low status’. It was borrowed from Old French ribaut, a derivative of the verb ribersleep around’. This is turn went back to Old High German rībanrub’, hence ‘copulate’. It was not used as an adjective until the early 16th century.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • Ribald — Rib ald, n. [OE. ribald, ribaud, F. ribaud, OF. ribald, ribault, LL. ribaldus, of German origin; cf. OHG hr[=i]pa prostitute. For the ending ald cf. E. {Herald}.] A low, vulgar, brutal, foul mouthed wretch; a lewd fellow. Spenser. Pope. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ribald — Rib ald, a. Low; base; mean; filthy; obscene. [1913 Webster] The busy day, Waked by the lark, hath roused the ribald crows. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ribald — [rib′əld] adj. [ME ribaude < OFr ribaud, debauchee < riber, to be wanton < OHG riban, to copulate, lit., to rub < IE * wreip , to twist > Gr rhipē, a throw, rush, storm] characterized by coarse or vulgar joking or mocking; esp.,… …   English World dictionary

  • ribald — index blameworthy, blatant (obtrusive), disreputable, inelegant, lascivious, lewd, obscene, offensive …   Law dictionary

  • ribald — (n.) mid 13c., a rogue, ruffian, rascall, scoundrell, varlet, filthie fellow [Cotgrave], from O.Fr. ribalt, of uncertain origin, perhaps from riber be wanton, sleep around, from a Germanic source (Cf. O.H.G. riban be wanton, lit. to rub, possibly …   Etymology dictionary

  • ribald — obscene, gross, *coarse, vulgar Analogous words: *offensive, loathsome: indecent, indelicate (see INDECOROUS): lewd, lascivious, wanton (see LICENTIOUS): scurrilous, opprobrious (see ABUSIVE) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • ribald — [adj] vulgar, obscene base, bawdy, blue*, coarse, devilish, earthy, fast*, filthy*, foulmouthed, gross*, indecent, indecorous, juicy, lascivious, lewd, licentious, low down and dirty, naughty, off color, out of line*, purple*, racy, rascally,… …   New thesaurus

  • ribald — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ coarsely or irreverently humorous. ORIGIN originally denoting a licentious or irreverent person: from Old French ribauld, from riber indulge in licentious pleasures …   English terms dictionary

  • ribald — rib|ald [ˈrıbəld] adj [Date: 1400 1500; Origin: ribald person of bad character (13 19 centuries), from Old French ribaut, ribauld, from riber to sleep around ] ribald remarks or jokes are humorous, rude, and about sex ▪ a ribald remark ▪ ribald… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • ribald — I. noun Etymology: Middle English ribaud person of low status, scoundrel, lecher, from Anglo French, from Old French riber to be debauched, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German rīban to be in heat, copulate, literally, to rub Date: 13th… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ribald — ribaldly, adv. /rib euhld/; spelling pron. /ruy beuhld/, adj. 1. vulgar or indecent in speech, language, etc.; coarsely mocking, abusive, or irreverent; scurrilous. n. 2. a ribald person. [1200 50; ME ribald, ribaud (n.) < OF ribau(l)d, equiv. to …   Universalium

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