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[luhd-ahyt] /ˈlʌd aɪt/
a member of any of various bands of workers in England (1811–16) organized to destroy manufacturing machinery, under the belief that its use diminished employment.
someone who is opposed or resistant to new technologies or technological change.
Origin of Luddite
1805-15; after Ned Ludd, 18th-century Leicestershire worker who originated the idea; see -ite1
Related forms
Luddism, Ludditism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for luddites
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The attitude of the luddites had become more openly threatening.

    Through the Fray G. A. Henty
  • The luddites, who commenced breaking up machinery in manufacturing towns in 1811, again committed great excesses.

    Lord John Russell

    Stuart J. Reid
  • In April, seven members of the so-called society of luddites were hanged at Leicester for breaking labor-saving machinery.

  • In November many luddites were convicted, and sixteen were executed by sentence of a special commission sitting at York.

  • Bill had dropped in, and they sat talking of the doings of the luddites till it was later than usual.

    Through the Fray G. A. Henty
  • I suppose it will not be for very long, for I expect that we shall not hear very much more of the luddites.

    Through the Fray G. A. Henty
  • Fourteen of the others were hung, as were five luddites who were tried before another tribunal.

    Through the Fray G. A. Henty
  • luddites was a name given to malcontents who went about destroying labor-saving machinery.

British Dictionary definitions for luddites


noun (English history)
any of the textile workers opposed to mechanization who rioted and organized machine-breaking between 1811 and 1816
any opponent of industrial change or innovation
of or relating to the Luddites
Derived Forms
Luddism, noun
Word Origin
C19: alleged to be named after Ned Ludd, an 18th-century Leicestershire workman, who destroyed industrial machinery
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for luddites



also luddite, 1811, from name taken by an organized band of weavers who destroyed machinery in Midlands and northern England 1811-16 for fear it would deprive them of work. Supposedly from Ned Ludd, a Leicestershire worker who in 1779 had done the same before through insanity (but that story first was told in 1847). Applied to modern rejecters of automation and technology from at least 1961. As an adjective from 1812.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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luddites in Culture
Luddites [(lud-eyets)]

Opponents of the introduction of labor-saving machinery. The original Luddites, followers of a legendary Ned Ludd, were British laborers of the early nineteenth century who smashed textile-making machines that threatened their jobs.

Note: Contemporary opponents of technological change are sometimes called “Luddites.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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