adjective, rip·er, rip·est.
  1. having arrived at such a stage of growth or development as to be ready for reaping, gathering, eating, or use, as grain or fruit; completely matured.
  2. resembling such fruit, as in ruddiness and fullness: ripe, red lips.
  3. advanced to the point of being in the best condition for use, as cheese or beer.
  4. fully grown or developed, as animals when ready to be killed and used for food.
  5. arrived at the highest or a high point of development or excellence; mature.
  6. of mature judgment or knowledge: ripe scholars; a ripe mind.
  7. characterized by full development of body or mind: of ripe years.
  8. (of time) advanced: a ripe old age.
  9. (of ideas, plans, etc.) ready for action, execution, etc.
  10. (of people) fully prepared or ready to do or undergo something: He was ripe for a change in jobs.
  11. fully or sufficiently advanced; ready enough; auspicious: The time is ripe for a new foreign policy.
  12. ready for some operation or process: a ripe abscess.
  13. Archaic. drunk: reeling ripe.

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. 2018

Examples from the Web for ripest

Historical Examples of ripest

  • Take the ripest and most juicy free-stone peaches you can procure.

  • It is one of the ripest fruits of the Christian life, and, like all fruits, must be grown.

    Pax Vobiscum

    Henry Drummond

  • Well revel in the strawberry beds, and try which peach is the ripest!

  • "Then I'll pick out the ripest in the basket for you," said Irene, her voice trembling.

    A Modern Tomboy

    L. T. Meade

  • One of the ripest and most all-wool musical comedies I've ever seen.

    Jill the Reckless

    P. G. (Pelham Grenville) Wodehouse

British Dictionary definitions for ripest


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



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 ripest


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.