adjective, rich·er, rich·est.


(used with a plural verb) rich persons collectively (usually preceded by the): new tax shelters for the rich.

Nearby words

  1. ricebird,
  2. ricer,
  3. ricercar,
  4. ricercare,
  5. ricey,
  6. rich as croesus,
  7. rich rhyme,
  8. rich, adrienne,
  9. richard,
  10. richard coeur de lion

Origin of rich

before 900; Middle English; Old English rīce (adj.) ≪ Celtic; cognate with German reich wealthy; akin to Latin rēx, Sanskrit rājan king

1. well-to-do, moneyed. Rich, wealthy, affluent all indicate abundance of possessions. Rich is the general word; it may imply that possessions are newly acquired: an oilman who became rich overnight. Wealthy suggests permanence, stability, and appropriate surroundings: a wealthy banker. Affluent usually suggests a generous amount of income, with a high standard of living and some social prestige and privilege: an affluent family. 5. bountiful, copious, luxuriant. 7. precious, high-priced, dear. 12. intense, vibrant. 14. aromatic. 15. fruitful, productive, prolific, luxuriant. 16. bountiful, copious, abounding, bounteous.

1–5, 15, 16. poor.

Related forms




Adrienne,1929–2012, U.S. poet and feminist.
a male given name, form of Richard.



plural noun

abundant and valuable possessions; wealth.

Origin of riches

1175–1225; Middle English, plural of Middle English riche wealth, power (Old English rīce power, rule; cognate with German Reich realm); confused with Middle English richesse wealth < Old French, equivalent to riche wealthy (< Germanic; see rich) + -esse -ess Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rich

British Dictionary definitions for rich



  1. well supplied with wealth, property, etc; owning much
  2. (as collective noun; preceded by the)the rich
(when postpositive , usually foll by in) having an abundance of natural resources, minerals, etca land rich in metals
producing abundantly; fertilerich soil
(when postpositive , usually foll by in or with) well supplied (with desirable qualities); abundant (in)a country rich with cultural interest
of great worth or quality; valuablea rich collection of antiques
luxuriant or prolifica rich growth of weeds
expensively elegant, elaborate, or fine; costlya rich display
(of food) having a large proportion of flavoursome or fatty ingredients, such as spices, butter, or cream
having a full-bodied flavoura rich ruby port
(of a smell) pungent or fragrant
(of colour) intense or vivid; deepa rich red
(of sound or a voice) full, mellow, or resonant
(of a fuel-air mixture) containing a relatively high proportion of fuelCompare weak (def. 12)
very amusing, laughable, or ridiculousa rich joke; a rich situation


See riches

Word Origin for rich

Old English rīce (originally of persons: great, mighty), of Germanic origin, ultimately from Celtic (compare Old Irish king)



Adrienne. 1929–2012, US poet and feminist writer; her volumes of poetry include Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law (1963) and Diving Into the Wreck (1973)
Buddy, real name Bernard Rich . 1917–87, US jazz drummer and band leader


pl n

wealth; an abundance of money, valuable possessions, or property
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 rich
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with rich


In addition to the idiom beginning with rich

  • rich as Croesus

also see:

  • embarrassment of riches
  • from rags to riches
  • strike it rich
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.