[ ruhd-er ]
See synonyms for rudder on
  1. Nautical. a vertical blade at the stern of a vessel that can be turned horizontally to change the vessel's direction when in motion.

  2. Aeronautics. a movable control surface attached to a vertical stabilizer, located at the rear of an airplane and used, along with the ailerons, to turn the airplane.

  1. any means of or device for governing, directing, or guiding a course, as a leader or principle: His ideas provided a rudder for the new company.

Origin of rudder

First recorded before 900; Middle English rodder, rother, ruder, Old English rōther; cognate with Old Frisian rōther, Middle Dutch rōder (Dutch roer ), Old High German ruodar (German Ruder ); akin to row2

Other words from rudder

  • rud·dered, adjective
  • rud·der·less, adjective
  • rud·der·like, adjective
  • un·rud·dered, adjective

Words Nearby rudder Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use rudder in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for rudder


/ (ˈrʌdə) /

  1. nautical a pivoted vertical vane that projects into the water at the stern of a vessel and can be controlled by a tiller, wheel, or other apparatus to steer the vessel

  2. a vertical control surface attached to the rear of the fin used to steer an aircraft, in conjunction with the ailerons

  1. anything that guides or directs

Origin of rudder

Old English rōther; related to Old French rōther, Old High German ruodar, Old Norse rōthr . See row ²

Derived forms of rudder

  • rudderless, adjective

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