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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

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Antonyms for rugged

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

Examples from the Web for ruggedness

Contemporary Examples of ruggedness

Historical Examples of ruggedness

British Dictionary definitions for ruggedness


  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 ruggedness



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