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rudder

[ruhd-er]
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noun
  1. Nautical. a vertical blade at the stern of a vessel that can be turned horizontally to change the vessel's direction when in motion.
  2. Aeronautics. a movable control surface attached to a vertical stabilizer, located at the rear of an airplane and used, along with the ailerons, to turn the airplane.
  3. any means of or device for governing, directing, or guiding a course, as a leader or principle: His ideas provided a rudder for the new company.
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Origin of rudder

before 900; Middle English rodder, rother, ruder, Old English rōther; cognate with Old Frisian rōther, Middle Dutch rōder (Dutch roer), Old High German ruodar (German Ruder); akin to row2
Related formsrud·dered, adjectiverud·der·less, adjectiverud·der·like, adjectiveun·rud·dered, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for rudderless

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He felt as he had at his father's death, rudderless, derelict.

    Still Jim

    Honor Willsie Morrow

  • Without it she was like a rudderless boat on an endless sea, and he knew it.

    Jennie Gerhardt

    Theodore Dreiser

  • He can never get a ship: his career's cut short, he's a rudderless boat.

  • He accepts his life as a rudderless ship, drifting on the ocean of time.

    The Majesty of Calmness

    William George Jordan

  • One is left compassless, rudderless, chartless on a sea of ideas.


British Dictionary definitions for rudderless

rudder

noun
  1. nautical a pivoted vertical vane that projects into the water at the stern of a vessel and can be controlled by a tiller, wheel, or other apparatus to steer the vessel
  2. a vertical control surface attached to the rear of the fin used to steer an aircraft, in conjunction with the ailerons
  3. anything that guides or directs
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Derived Formsrudderless, adjective

Word Origin

Old English rōther; related to Old French rōther, Old High German ruodar, Old Norse rōthr . See row ²
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

Word Origin and History for rudderless

rudder

n.

Old English roðor "paddle, oar," from Proto-Germanic *rothru- (cf. Old Frisian roðer, Middle Low German roder, Middle Dutch roeder, Dutch roer, Old High German ruodar, German Ruder "oar"), from *ro- "steer" (see row (v.)) + suffix -þra, used to form neutral names of tools. Meaning "broad, flat piece of wood attached to the stern of a boat and used for steering" is from c.1300. Spelling with -d- for -th- first recorded mid-15c. (cf. feather, mother, gather).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper