A Word A Day : Ribald

Monday, 10th March 2008 : Today's Word is ...


( Adjective & Noun )

Pronunciation : ríbb'ld & ri-bàwld


1. humorous but rude and vulgar, often involving jokes about sex

2. characterized by or indulging in vulgar

3. humorously vulgar

4. Offensive to accepted standards of decency

5. A vulgar, lewdly funny person


14th century - Old French ribau(l)t - riber - sleep around - Germanic


barnyard, bawdy, broad, coarse, dirty, Fescennine, filthy, foul, gross, lewd, nasty, obscene, profane, scatologic, scatological, scurrilous, smutty, vulgar, earthy, rude, funny, humorous

Earthy is similar to earth or hearty or coarse or vulgar.

Earthly is pertaining to human existence on earth.

Earthen means something made of earth or clay.


refined, chaste, clean, decent, proper, civil, cultured, gentlemanly, polite, sophisticated, well-mannered

Contextual Examples:

• The crowd laughed at the comedian's occasional ribald joke.

• The first point is: I hate ribaldry and ribald talkers.

• On the evening of the 23d -July, they encamped on the banks of what they term Big River. And here we cannot but pause to lament the stupid, commonplace and often ribald names entailed upon the rivers and other features of the great West by traders and settlers.

• Before it was altogether dark the curious crowd had collected in the street with here and there a scoffer uttering his incredulity and courage with scornful remarks or ribald cries.

Related Words:

ribaldry : Noun

Ribaldry is a third, and somewhat neglected, genre of sexual entertainment. Somewhat different from either pornography or erotica. It is often confused with them. It could also be referred to as bawdiness or bawdry.

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