Origin of rogue

First recorded in 1555–65; apparently short for obsolete roger begging vagabond, orig. cant word
Related formsout·rogue, verb (used with object), out·rogued, out·ro·guing.un·der·rogue, noun
Can be confusedrogue rouge
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rogue

British Dictionary definitions for rogue


/ (rəʊɡ) /



  1. (tr) to rid (a field or crop) of plants that are inferior, diseased, or of an unwanted variety
  2. to identify and remove such plants

Word Origin for rogue

C16: of unknown origin; perhaps related to Latin rogāre to beg
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 rogue



1560s, "idle vagrant," perhaps a shortened form of roger (with a hard -g-), thieves' slang for a begging vagabond who pretends to be a poor scholar from Oxford or Cambridge, which is perhaps an agent noun in English from Latin rogare "to ask." Another theory [Klein] traces it to Celtic (cf. Breton rog "haughty"); OED says, "There is no evidence of connexion with F. rogue 'arrogant.' "

In playful or affectionate use, "one who is mischievous," 1590s. Meaning "large wild beast living apart from the herd" is from 1859, originally of elephants. Meaning "something uncontrolled or undisciplined" is from 1964. Also common in 17c. as a verb. Rogue's gallery "police collection of mug shots" is attested from 1859.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper