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  1. a furrow or track in the ground, especially one made by the passage of a vehicle or vehicles.
  2. any furrow, groove, etc.
  3. a fixed or established mode of procedure or course of life, usually dull or unpromising: to fall into a rut.
verb (used with object), rut·ted, rut·ting.
  1. to make a rut or ruts in; furrow.

Origin of rut1

First recorded in 1570–80; perhaps variant of route


  1. the periodically recurring sexual excitement of the deer, goat, sheep, etc.
verb (used without object), rut·ted, rut·ting.
  1. to be in the condition of rut.

Origin of rut2

1375–1425; late Middle English rutte < Middle French rut, ruit < Late Latin rugītus a roaring, equivalent to Latin rugī(re) to roar + -tus suffix of v. action
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for rutting


  1. a groove or furrow in a soft road, caused by wheels
  2. any deep mark, hole, or groove
  3. a narrow or predictable way of life, set of attitudes, etc; dreary or undeviating routine (esp in the phrase in a rut)
verb ruts, rutting or rutted
  1. (tr) to make a rut or ruts in

Word Origin

C16: probably from French route road


  1. a recurrent period of sexual excitement and reproductive activity in certain male ruminants, such as the deer, that corresponds to the period of oestrus in females
  2. another name for oestrus
verb ruts, rutting or rutted
  1. (intr) (of male ruminants) to be in a period of sexual excitement and activity

Word Origin

C15: from Old French rut noise, roar, from Latin rugītus, from rugīre to roar
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 rutting



"narrow track worn or cut in the ground," 1570s, probably from Middle English route (see route (n.)); though OED finds this "improbable." Metaphoric meaning "narrow, monotonous routine; habitual mode of behavior" first attested 1839.



"annually recurring sexual excitement in animals; animal mating season" (originally of deer), early 15c., from Old French rut, ruit, from Late Latin rutigum (nominative rugitus) "a bellowing," from past participle of Latin rugire "to bellow," from PIE imitative root *reu-. The verb is recorded from early 15c. Related: Rutting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with rutting


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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