Origin of rugged

1300–50; Middle English < Scandinavian; compare Swedish rugga to roughen (of cloth); cf. rug
Related formsrug·ged·ly, adverbrug·ged·ness, nounun·rug·ged, adjective

Synonyms for rugged

Antonyms for rugged

1. smooth. 4. mild. 10. frail. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rugged

Contemporary Examples of rugged

Historical Examples of rugged

  • "Old John will bide at home, sire," said the rugged soldier.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • But the way was rugged, broken, and in spots nearly impassable.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • His voice sounded strangely soft from one so large and rugged.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • His rugged face was deeply lined, and I noticed a little gray in his hair.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • Did Orpheus by his lay humanize the rugged beasts and teach the forests to listen?


    William Godwin

British Dictionary definitions for rugged



having an uneven or jagged surface
rocky or steeprugged scenery
(of the face) strong-featured or furrowed
rough, severe, or stern in character
without refinement or culture; ruderugged manners
involving hardship; harshhe leads a rugged life in the mountains
difficult or harda rugged test
(of equipment, machines, etc) designed to withstand rough treatment or use in rough conditionsa handheld rugged computer which can survive being submerged in water
mainly US and Canadian sturdy or strong; robust
Derived Formsruggedly, adverbruggedness, noun

Word Origin for rugged

C14: from Scandinavian; compare Swedish rugga to make rough
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 rugged

c.1300, "rough, shaggy, careworn" (originally of animals), from Old Norse rogg "shaggy tuft" (see rug). "The precise relationship to ragged is not quite clear, but the stem is no doubt ultimately the same" [OED]. Meaning "vigorous, strong, robust" is American English, by 1848.

We were challenged with a peace-time choice between the American system of rugged individualism and a European philosophy of diametrically opposed doctrines -- doctrines of paternalism and state socialism. [Herbert Hoover, speech in New York, Oct. 22, 1928]

Hoover said the phrase was not his own, and it is attested from 1897, though not in a patriotic context. Related: Ruggedly; ruggedness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper