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  1. having a roughly broken, rocky, hilly, or jagged surface: rugged ground.
  2. (of a face) wrinkled or furrowed, as by experience or the endurance of hardship.
  3. roughly irregular, heavy, or hard in outline or form; craggy: Lincoln's rugged features.
  4. rough, harsh, or stern, as persons or nature.
  5. full of hardship and trouble; severe; hard; trying: a rugged life.
  6. tempestuous; stormy: rugged weather.
  7. harsh to the ear: rugged sounds.
  8. rude, uncultivated, or unrefined.
  9. homely or plain: rugged fare.
  10. capable of enduring hardship, wear, etc.; strong and tough: rugged floor covering; a rugged lumberjack.

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

See more synonyms for on

Antonyms for rugged

1. smooth. 4. mild. 10. frail. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for ruggedly

haphazardly, roughly, choppily, ruggedly, unsteadily

Examples from the Web for ruggedly

Contemporary Examples of ruggedly

  • “I think it would be unwise to dismiss her because she is foolish and misinformed,” the ruggedly handsome movie hero told me.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Viggo's Take on Sarah Palin

    Lloyd Grove

    December 8, 2009

Historical Examples of ruggedly

  • Both come from the Shetland Islands, which are north of Scotland and are ruggedly wild.

    The Wee Scotch Piper

    Madeline Brandeis

  • He was the dark, ruggedly handsome type, the kind who took it for granted that women should fawn over him.

    A Woman's Place

    Mark Irvin Clifton

  • His ruggedly honest nature and stern sense of justice could not get over those past failings.

    We Two

    Edna Lyall

  • New York had not had time as yet to remove the bronze tan of an outdoor life from Blake's ruggedly good-looking face.

    Zehru of Xollar

    Hal K. Wells

  • His hands were large and well kept, but ruggedly formed, and the backs were shaded with crinkly reddish hair.

    Song of the Lark

    Willa Cather

British Dictionary definitions for ruggedly


  1. having an uneven or jagged surface
  2. rocky or steeprugged scenery
  3. (of the face) strong-featured or furrowed
  4. rough, severe, or stern in character
  5. without refinement or culture; ruderugged manners
  6. involving hardship; harshhe leads a rugged life in the mountains
  7. difficult or harda rugged test
  8. (of equipment, machines, etc) designed to withstand rough treatment or use in rough conditionsa handheld rugged computer which can survive being submerged in water
  9. 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 ruggedly



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