[ rib-uhld; spelling pronunciation rahy-buhld ]
/ ˈrɪb əld; spelling pronunciation ˈraɪ bəld /


vulgar or indecent in speech, language, etc.; coarsely mocking, abusive, or irreverent; scurrilous.


a ribald person.

Origin of ribald

1200–50; Middle English ribald, ribaud (noun) < Old French ribau(l)d, equivalent to rib(er) to be licentious (< Old High German rīben to copulate, be in heat, literally, rub) + -au(l)d, -alt < Frankish *-wald a suffix in personal names, derivative of *walden to rule; compare parallel development of -ard

Related forms

rib·ald·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ribald

British Dictionary definitions for ribald


/ (ˈrɪbəld) /


coarse, obscene, or licentious, usually in a humorous or mocking way


a ribald person

Derived Forms

ribaldly, adverb

Word Origin for ribald

C13: from Old French ribauld, from riber to live licentiously, of Germanic origin
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