Nautical. a vertical blade at the stern of a vessel that can be turned horizontally to change the vessel's direction when in motion.
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.
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

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
Related formsrud·dered, adjectiverud·der·less, adjectiverud·der·like, adjectiveun·rud·dered, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rudderless

Contemporary Examples of rudderless

  • Foer is the kind of adult for whom a pre-Huggies life was rudderless.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Fatherhood Gets Hip

    Lizzie Skurnick

    December 1, 2009

Historical Examples of rudderless

  • He felt as he had at his father's death, rudderless, derelict.

    Still Jim

    Honor Willsie Morrow

  • Without it she was like a rudderless boat on an endless sea, and he knew it.

    Jennie Gerhardt

    Theodore Dreiser

  • He can never get a ship: his career's cut short, he's a rudderless boat.

  • He accepts his life as a rudderless ship, drifting on the ocean of time.

    The Majesty of Calmness

    William George Jordan

  • One is left compassless, rudderless, chartless on a sea of ideas.

British Dictionary definitions for rudderless



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
a vertical control surface attached to the rear of the fin used to steer an aircraft, in conjunction with the ailerons
anything that guides or directs
Derived Formsrudderless, adjective

Word Origin for rudder

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



Old English roðor "paddle, oar," from Proto-Germanic *rothru- (cf. Old Frisian roðer, Middle Low German roder, Middle Dutch roeder, Dutch roer, Old High German ruodar, German Ruder "oar"), from *ro- "steer" (see row (v.)) + suffix -þra, used to form neutral names of tools. Meaning "broad, flat piece of wood attached to the stern of a boat and used for steering" is from c.1300. Spelling with -d- for -th- first recorded mid-15c. (cf. feather, mother, gather).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper