adjective, rip·er, rip·est.

Origin of ripe

before 900; Middle English; Old English rīpe; cognate with Dutch rijp, German reif; akin to Old English ripan to reap
Related formsripe·ly, adverbripe·ness, nounhalf-ripe, adjective
Can be confusedrife ripe (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for ripe

1. grown, aged. Ripe, mature, mellow refer to that which is no longer in an incomplete stage of development. Ripe implies completed growth beyond which the processes of decay begin: a ripe banana. Mature means fully grown and developed as used of living organisms: a mature animal; a mature tree. Mellow denotes complete absence of sharpness or asperity, with sweetness and richness such as characterize ripeness or age: mellow fruit; mellow flavor. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for riper

Historical Examples of riper

  • I leave this task to others, of riper years, as you were yourself.

    Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois, Complete

    Marguerite de Valois, Queen of Navarre

  • Neither have they teachers or advisers with whom they can take counsel in riper years.

  • The peaches were excellent,—would have been better if riper.


    Charles James Lever

  • The plant is then riper, less juicy, and cures more readily.

  • That sad, though glorious reversion of our riper and darker years?

    Ernest Linwood

    Caroline Lee Hentz

British Dictionary definitions for riper



(of fruit, grain, etc) mature and ready to be eaten or used; fully developed
mature enough to be eaten or usedripe cheese
fully developed in mind or body
resembling ripe fruit, esp in redness or fullnessa ripe complexion
(postpositive foll by for) ready or eager (to undertake or undergo an action)
(postpositive foll by for) suitable; right or opportunethe time is not yet ripe
mature in judgment or knowledge
advanced but healthy (esp in the phrase a ripe old age)
  1. complete; thorough
  2. excessive; exorbitant
slang slightly indecent; risqué
Derived Formsripely, adverbripeness, noun

Word Origin for ripe

Old English rīpe; related to Old Saxon rīpi, Old High German rīfi, German reif
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 riper



Old English ripe "ready for reaping, fit for eating, mature," from West Germanic *ripijaz (cf. Old Saxon ripi, Middle Dutch ripe, Dutch rijp, Old High German rifi, German reif); related to Old English repan "to reap" (see reap). Meaning "ready for some action or effect" is from 1590s. Related: Ripely; ripeness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with riper


In addition to the idiom beginning with ripe

  • ripe old age

also see:

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