[rib-uh n]


verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to form in ribbonlike strips.

Nearby words

  1. ribbed-knit,
  2. ribbentrop,
  3. ribbentrop, joachim von,
  4. ribbing,
  5. ribble,
  6. ribbon copy,
  7. ribbon development,
  8. ribbon lightning,
  9. ribbon microphone,
  10. ribbon plant

Origin of ribbon

1520–30; variant of Middle English riban(d) < Old French, variant of r (e)uban, perhaps < Germanic. See band2

Related formsrib·bon·like, rib·bon·y, adjectiveun·rib·boned, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ribbon

British Dictionary definitions for ribbon



a narrow strip of fine material, esp silk, used for trimming, tying, etc
something resembling a ribbon; a long stripa ribbon of land
a long thin flexible band of metal used as a graduated measure, spring, etc
a long narrow strip of ink-impregnated cloth for making the impression of type characters on paper in a typewriter or similar device
(plural) ragged strips or shreds (esp in the phrase torn to ribbons)
a small strip of coloured cloth signifying membership of an order or award of military decoration, prize, or other distinction
a small, usually looped, strip of coloured cloth worn to signify support for a charity or causea red AIDS ribbon

verb (tr)

to adorn with a ribbon or ribbons
to mark with narrow ribbon-like marks
to reduce to ribbons; tear into strips
Derived Formsribbon-like or ribbony, adjective

Word Origin for ribbon

C14 ryban, from Old French riban, apparently of Germanic origin; probably related to ring 1, band 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 ribbon



early 14c., ribane, from Old French riban "a ribbon," variant of ruban (13c.), of unknown origin, possibly from a Germanic compound whose second element is related to band (n.1); cf. Middle Dutch ringhband "necklace." Modern spelling is from mid-16c. Originally a stripe in a material. Custom of colored ribbon loops worn on lapels to declare support for some group perceived as suffering or oppressed began in 1991 with AIDS red ribbons.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper