See more synonyms for ripper on
  1. a person or thing that rips.
  2. Also ripper bill, ripper act. a legislative bill or act for taking powers of appointment to and removal from office away from the usual holders of these powers and conferring them unrestrictedly on a chief executive, as a governor or mayor, or on a board of officials.
  3. a double-ripper.
  4. a killer who dispatches and often mutilates victims with a knife or similar weapon.
  5. Mining. a hooklike tool, attached to earth-moving machinery, for tearing away ore, rock, etc.
  6. Chiefly British Slang. something especially strong, fine, or good of its kind.

Origin of ripper

First recorded in 1605–15; rip1 + -er1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ripper

Contemporary Examples of ripper

Historical Examples of ripper

  • Bob Pillin saw her white round throat, and thought: 'She is a ripper!'

    Five Tales

    John Galsworthy

  • Is it so lovely really, that Aunt Dodo has settled to marry the Ripper?

    Dodo's Daughter

    E. F. Benson

  • "Jack Chesterford, because he is such a ripper," said Nadine.

    Dodo's Daughter

    E. F. Benson

  • In the parlance of the Lieutenant, the old horse was indeed "a ripper."

  • Its a ripper, the gramophone, I mean, like some other people I am thinking of!

British Dictionary definitions for ripper


  1. a person who rips
  2. a murderer who dissects or mutilates his victims' bodies
  3. informal, mainly Australian and NZ a fine or excellent person or thing
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 ripper

1610s, agent noun from rip (v.). Meaning "killer who mutilates his victims" (1890) is from Jack the Ripper, notorious London murderer, whose nickname contains a pun on ripper in sense of "tool for ripping" old slates, etc. (1823) and the slang meaning "excellent person or thing, a 'ripping' fellow" (1838), from ripping "excellent, splendid."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper