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[roo-duh-muh nt]
See more synonyms for rudiment on Thesaurus.com
  1. Usually rudiments.
    1. the elements or first principles of a subject: the rudiments of grammar.
    2. a mere beginning, first slight appearance, or undeveloped or imperfect form of something: the rudiments of a plan.
  2. Biology. an organ or part incompletely developed in size or structure, as one in an embryonic stage, one arrested in growth, or one with no functional activity, as a vestige.
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Origin of rudiment

1540–50; < Latin rudīmentum early training, first experience, initial stage, equivalent to rudi(s) unformed, rough (see rude) + -mentum -ment (-ī- for -i- after verbal derivatives)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for rudiment

foundation, bottom, groundwork, support, footing, rest, seat, base, bed, fundamental, fundament, foot, root, cornerstone, ground, substructure, hint, aspect, unit, basic

Examples from the Web for rudiment

Historical Examples of rudiment

  • Sometimes a rudiment of a fifth toe appears to be traceable.

    Little Masterpieces of Science:


  • Rudiment -any: the beginning of any structure or part before it has developed.

  • The fish form is that in which we have only a rudiment of the cerebrum, which is so large in man.

  • Yet it is not quite wanting, its rudiment is there, and this rudiment is capable of development.

    Man And His Ancestor

    Charles Morris

  • Here the rudiment of a thought struck her and changed the current of her reason.

    The Man

    Bram Stoker

British Dictionary definitions for rudiment


  1. (often plural) the first principles or elementary stages of a subject
  2. (often plural) a partially developed version of something
  3. biology an organ or part in its earliest recognizable form, esp one in an embryonic or vestigial state
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Word Origin for rudiment

C16: from Latin rudīmentum a beginning, from rudis unformed; see rude
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 rudiment


1540s, from Middle French rudiment (16c.) or directly from Latin rudimentum "early training, first experience, beginning, first principle," from rudis "unlearned, untrained" (see rude). Related: Rudiments.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

rudiment in Medicine


  1. An imperfectly or incompletely developed organ or part.
  2. Something in an incipient or undeveloped form. Often used in the plural.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.