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

Synonyms for rogue

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

Examples from the Web for rogue

Contemporary Examples of rogue

Historical Examples of rogue

  • There never was a rogue, who had not a salvo to himself for being so.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • We were much provoked at the insult of playing the Rogue's March.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • And all that's in it for me is this—the schoolmaster was a rogue that did not give me that verse in for my money.

  • Where has your conscience been these two months back, you villain and rogue?

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • There was not a rogue or a rascal inside its whole precincts.


    James Anthony Froude

British Dictionary definitions for rogue



a dishonest or unprincipled person, esp a man; rascal; scoundrel
often jocular a mischievous or wayward person, often a child; scamp
a crop plant which is inferior, diseased, or of a different, unwanted variety
  1. any inferior or defective specimen
  2. (as modifier)rogue heroin
archaic a vagrant
  1. an animal of vicious character that has separated from the main herd and leads a solitary life
  2. (as modifier)a rogue elephant


  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