the act of a person or thing that rides.


used in traveling or in riding: riding clothes.

Origin of riding

before 1000; Middle English (noun, adj.); Old English rīdende (adj.). See ride, -ing1, -ing2




any of the three administrative divisions into which Yorkshire, England, is divided, namely, North Riding, East Riding, and West Riding.
any similar administrative division elsewhere.

Origin of riding

1250–1300; Middle English triding, Old English *thriding < Old Norse thridjungr third part; t- (of ME), variant of th- (of OE), lost by assimilation to -t in east, west, which commonly preceded




Laura,1901–91, U.S. poet, novelist, and critic.



verb (used without object), rode or (Archaic) rid; rid·den or (Archaic) rid; rid·ing.

to sit on and manage a horse or other animal in motion; be carried on the back of an animal.
to be borne along on or in a vehicle or other kind of conveyance.
to move or float on the water: the surfboarders riding on the crests of the waves.
to move along in any way; be carried or supported: He is riding along on his friend's success. Distress is riding among the people.
to have a specified character for riding purposes: The car rides smoothly.
to be conditioned; depend (usually followed by on): All his hopes are riding on getting that promotion.
Informal. to continue without interruption or interference: He decided to let the bet ride.
to be carried on something, as a litter, a person's shoulders, or the like.
to work or move up from the proper place or position (usually followed by up): Her skirt rode up above her knees.
to extend or project over something, as the edge of one thing over the edge of another thing.
to turn or rest on something: the great globe of the world riding on its axis.
to appear to float in space, as a heavenly body: A blood-red moon rode in the cloudless sky.
to lie at anchor, as a ship.

verb (used with object), rode or (Archaic) rid; rid·den or (Archaic) rid; rid·ing.

to sit on and manage (a horse, bicycle, etc.) so as to be carried along.
to sit or move along on (something); be carried or borne along on: The ship rode the waves. We ride a bus.
to ride over, along, or through (a road, boundary, region, etc.); traverse.
to ridicule or harass persistently: The boys keep riding him about his poor grades.
to control, dominate, or tyrannize over: a man ridden by fear; a country that is ridden by a power-mad dictator.
to cause to ride.
to carry (a person) on something as if on a horse: He rode the child about on his back.
to execute by riding: to ride a race.
to rest on, especially by overlapping.
to keep (a vessel) at anchor or moored.
Jazz. to play improvisations on (a melody).


a journey or excursion on a horse, camel, etc., or on or in a vehicle.
a means of or arrangement for transportation by motor vehicle: We'll handle rides to be sure everyone gets home quickly.
the vehicle used for transportation: I've got to hang up now—my ride's here.
a vehicle or device, as a Ferris wheel, roller coaster, or merry-go-round, on which people ride for amusement.
a way, road, etc., made especially for riding.

Verb Phrases

ride out,
  1. to sustain (a gale, storm, etc.) without damage, as while riding at anchor.
  2. to sustain or endure successfully.

Origin of ride

before 900; 1915–20 for def 17; Middle English riden (v.), Old English rīdan; cognate with Old Frisian rīda, German reiten, Old Norse rītha; akin to Old Irish ríad journey (cf. palfrey, rheda). See road

Synonym study

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

Examples from the Web for riding

Contemporary Examples of riding

Historical Examples of riding

  • All this Robert thought over as he was riding in the cars to the city.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • “Alack me no alacks,” she interrupted, holding up her riding rod.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • He could see them buckling on belts while they were riding with the reins in their teeth.

  • Halfway up the stretch Allis was riding stirrup to stirrup with her father.


    W. A. Fraser

  • It's your lover you're riding for at this time of the night, or I'm no judge of the sex.

British Dictionary definitions for riding




  1. the art or practice of horsemanship
  2. (as modifier)a riding school; riding techniques




(capital when part of a name) any of the three former administrative divisions of Yorkshire: North Riding, East Riding and West Riding
(in Canada) a parliamentary constituency
(in New Zealand) a rural electorate for local government

Word Origin for riding

from Old English thriding, from Old Norse thrithjungr a third. The th- was lost by assimilation to the -t or -th that preceded it, as in west thriding, etc


verb rides, riding, rode or ridden

to sit on and control the movements of (a horse or other animal)
(tr) to sit on and propel (a bicycle or similar vehicle)
(intr ; often foll by on or in) to be carried along or travel on or in a vehicleshe rides to work on the bus
(tr) to travel over or traversethey rode the countryside in search of shelter
(tr) to take part in by ridingto ride a race
to travel through or be carried across (sea, sky, etc)the small boat rode the waves; the moon was riding high
(tr) US and Canadian to cause to be carriedto ride someone out of town
(intr) to be supported as if floatingthe candidate rode to victory on his new policies
(intr) (of a vessel) to lie at anchor
(tr) (of a vessel) to be attached to (an anchor)
(esp of a bone) to overlap or lie over (another structure or part)
Southern African informal
  1. (intr)to drive a car
  2. (tr)to transport (goods, farm produce, etc) by motor vehicle or cart
(tr) (of a male animal) to copulate with; mount
(tr) slang to have sexual intercourse with (someone)
(tr; usually passive) to tyrannize over or dominateridden by fear
(tr) informal to persecute, esp by constant or petty criticismdon't ride me so hard over my failure
(intr) informal to continue undisturbedI wanted to change something, but let it ride
(tr) to endure successfully; ride out
(tr) to yield slightly to (a blow or punch) in order to lessen its impact
(intr often foll by on) (of a bet) to remain placedlet your winnings ride on the same number
(intr) jazz to play well, esp in freely improvising at perfect tempo
ride roughshod over to domineer over or act with complete disregard for
ride to hounds to take part in a fox hunt on horseback
ride for a fall to act in such a way as to invite disaster
ride again informal to return to a former activity or scene of activity
riding high confident, popular, and successful


a journey or outing on horseback or in a vehicle
a path specially made for riding on horseback
transport in a vehicle, esp when given freely to a pedestrian; liftcan you give me a ride to the station?
a device or structure, such as a roller coaster at a fairground, in which people ride for pleasure or entertainment
slang an act of sexual intercourse
slang a partner in sexual intercourse
take for a ride informal
  1. to cheat, swindle, or deceive
  2. to take (someone) away in a car and murder him
Derived Formsridable or rideable, adjective

Word Origin for ride

Old English rīdan; related to Old High German rītan, Old Norse rītha
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 riding

one of the three districts into which Yorkshire was divided, late 13c., from late Old English *þriðing, a relic of Viking rule, from Old Norse ðriðjungr "third part," from ðriði "third" (see third). The initial consonant merged with final consonant of preceding north, west, or east.


c.1300, verbal noun from ride (v.). Meaning "teasing, annoying" is from 1927. Riding-hood, worn by women when riding or exposed to weather, is from mid-15c.



Old English ridan "sit or be carried on" (as on horseback), "move forward; rock; float, sail" (class I strong verb; past tense rad, past participle riden), from Proto-Germanic *ridanan (cf. Old Norse riða, Old Saxon ridan, Old Frisian rida "to ride," Middle Dutch riden, Dutch rijden, Old High Germn ritan, German reiten), from PIE *reidh- "to ride" (cf. Old Irish riadaim "I travel," Old Gaulish reda "chariot").

Meaning "heckle" is from 1912; that of "have sex with (a woman)" is from mid-13c.; that of "dominate cruelly" is from 1580s. To ride out "endure (a storm, etc.) without great damage" is from 1520s. To ride shotgun is 1963, from Old West stagecoach custom in the movies. To ride shank's mare "walk" is from 1846 (see shank (n.)).



1759, "journey on the back of a horse or in a vehicle," from ride (v.); slang meaning "a motor vehicle" is recorded from 1930; sense of "amusement park device" is from 1934. Meaning "act of sexual intercourse" is from 1937. To take (someone) for a ride "tease, mislead, cheat," is first attested 1925, American English, possibly from underworld sense of "take on a car trip with intent to kill" (1927). Phrase go along for the ride in the figurative sense "join in passively" is from 1956. A ride cymbal (1956) is used by jazz drummers for keeping up continuous rhythm, as opposed to a crash cymbal (ride as "rhythm" in jazz slang is recorded from 1936).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with riding


In addition to the idioms beginning with ride

  • ride for a fall
  • ride hellbent for leather
  • ride herd on
  • ride high
  • ride out
  • ride roughshod over
  • ride shotgun
  • ride up

also see:

  • along for the ride
  • go along (for the ride)
  • gravy train, ride the
  • hitch a ride
  • let ride
  • take someone for a ride
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.