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[rahyp] /raɪp/
adjective, riper, ripest.
having arrived at such a stage of growth or development as to be ready for reaping, gathering, eating, or use, as grain or fruit; completely matured.
resembling such fruit, as in ruddiness and fullness:
ripe, red lips.
advanced to the point of being in the best condition for use, as cheese or beer.
fully grown or developed, as animals when ready to be killed and used for food.
arrived at the highest or a high point of development or excellence; mature.
of mature judgment or knowledge:
ripe scholars; a ripe mind.
characterized by full development of body or mind:
of ripe years.
(of time) advanced:
a ripe old age.
(of ideas, plans, etc.) ready for action, execution, etc.
(of people) fully prepared or ready to do or undergo something:
He was ripe for a change in jobs.
fully or sufficiently advanced; ready enough; auspicious:
The time is ripe for a new foreign policy.
ready for some operation or process:
a ripe abscess.
Archaic. drunk:
reeling ripe.
Origin of ripe
before 900; Middle English; Old English rīpe; cognate with Dutch rijp, German reif; akin to Old English ripan to reap
Related forms
ripely, adverb
ripeness, noun
half-ripe, adjective
Can be confused
rife, ripe (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. grown, aged. Ripe, mature, mellow refer to that which is no longer in an incomplete stage of development. Ripe implies completed growth beyond which the processes of decay begin: a ripe banana. Mature means fully grown and developed as used of living organisms: a mature animal; a mature tree. Mellow denotes complete absence of sharpness or asperity, with sweetness and richness such as characterize ripeness or age: mellow fruit; mellow flavor. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for riper
Historical Examples
  • I leave this task to others, of riper years, as you were yourself.

    Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois, Complete Marguerite de Valois, Queen of Navarre
  • Neither have they teachers or advisers with whom they can take counsel in riper years.

    The Republic Plato
  • The peaches were excellent,—would have been better if riper.

    Barrington Charles James Lever
  • The plant is then riper, less juicy, and cures more readily.

    Cattle and Their Diseases Robert Jennings
  • That sad, though glorious reversion of our riper and darker years?

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • The balloon lay close to the ground, looking larger, riper than ever.

    High Adventure James Norman Hall
  • They are the older, the better, the riper and richer, and more enriching.

    Spare Hours John Brown
  • She had got back her health, bringing with it a riper wealth of womanhood.

    The Guardian Angel Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • The mystery is alike for children and for those of riper years.

  • In these riper hours of day there is less of Cobweb in his composition.

    Chimney-Pot Papers Charles S. Brooks
British Dictionary definitions for riper


(of fruit, grain, etc) mature and ready to be eaten or used; fully developed
mature enough to be eaten or used: ripe cheese
fully developed in mind or body
resembling ripe fruit, esp in redness or fullness: a ripe complexion
(postpositive) foll by for. ready or eager (to undertake or undergo an action)
(postpositive) foll by for. suitable; right or opportune: the time is not yet ripe
mature in judgment or knowledge
advanced but healthy (esp in the phrase a ripe old age)
  1. complete; thorough
  2. excessive; exorbitant
(slang) slightly indecent; risqué
Derived Forms
ripely, adverb
ripeness, noun
Word Origin
Old English rīpe; related to Old Saxon rīpi, Old High German rīfi, German reif
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 riper



Old English ripe "ready for reaping, fit for eating, mature," from West Germanic *ripijaz (cf. Old Saxon ripi, Middle Dutch ripe, Dutch rijp, Old High German rifi, German reif); related to Old English repan "to reap" (see reap). Meaning "ready for some action or effect" is from 1590s. Related: Ripely; ripeness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for riper



  1. Smelly or foul: smelling a bit ripe
  2. Intoxicated by alcohol: bit ripe after three Heinekens
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with riper


In addition to the idiom beginning with ripe also see: time is ripe
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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