Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Extending unchecked; unrestrained.
  • adjective Occurring without restraint and frequently, widely, or menacingly; rife.
  • adjective Rearing on the hind legs.
  • adjective Heraldry Rearing on the left hind leg with the forelegs elevated, the right above the left, and usually with the head in profile.
  • adjective Architecture Springing from a support or an abutment that is higher at one side than at the other.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Climbing or springing unchecked; rank in growth; exuberant: as, rampant weeds.
  • Overleaping restraint or usual limits; unbridled; unrestricted.
  • Ramping; rearing.
  • In heraldry, rising with both fore legs elevated, the dexter uppermost, and the head seen sidewise, the dexter hind leg also higher than the sinister, as if the weight of the creature were borne upon the latter: noting a lion or other beast of prey. Also ramping, effrayé. See also cut under affronté.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Ramping; leaping; springing; rearing upon the hind legs; hence, raging; furious.
  • adjective Ascending; climbing; rank in growth; exuberant.
  • adjective (Her.) Rising with fore paws in the air as if attacking; -- said of a beast of prey, especially a lion. The right fore leg and right hind leg should be raised higher than the left.
  • adjective Same as Rampant vault, below.
  • adjective (Her.) rampant, but with the face turned to the front.
  • adjective rampant, but looking backward.
  • adjective (Arch.) a continuous wagon vault, or cradle vault, whose two abutments are located on an inclined plane, such as the vault supporting a stairway, or forming the ceiling of a stairway.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective originally rearing on both hind legs with the forelegs extended
  • adjective heraldry : rearing on its hind leg(s), with a foreleg raised and in profile.
  • adjective architecture tilted, said of an arch with one side higher than the other.
  • adjective unrestrained or unchecked, usually in a negative manner.
  • adjective rife, or occurring widely, frequently or menacingly.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective rearing on left hind leg with forelegs elevated and head usually in profile
  • adjective unrestrained and violent
  • adjective (of a plant) having a lush and unchecked growth

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English rampaunt, from Old French rampant, present participle of ramper, to ramp; see ramp.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Recorded since 1382, "standing on the hind legs" (as in heraldry), later, "fierce, ravenous" (1387); from Old French rampant, the past present participle of ramper ("to creep, climb")

Examples

  • Two Lions rampant, when face to face, are _Counter rampant_, or

    The Handbook to English Heraldry

  • I propose the term rampant fantasy for books that: ... pile concept upon concept while the previous concept hasn't been adequately absorbed in the story.

    a new term

  • But the term rampant grower does not do it justice.

    Fairy Gazebo « Fairegarden

  • Markets Raj Rajaratnam's remarkable journey from Sri Lanka to the heights of the hedge-fund world to felon ended Thursday in a defining moment for the government's campaign to stamp out what it describes as rampant illegal trading on Wall Street, when he was sentenced to 11 years in prison, the longest term ever imposed in an insider-trading case.

    Iran Accused, Cain Leaps to 1, RIM Outage

  • Activist criticism The activists, who have been campaigning for a strong anti-graft law, say the draft legislation is too weak to address what they call rampant corruption in the country.

    India Considers Anti-Corruption Bill Amid Calls for Tougher Law

  • Activist criticism The activists, who have been campaigning for a strong anti-graft law, say the draft legislation is too weak to address what they call rampant corruption in the country.

    India Considers Anti-Corruption Bill Amid Calls for Tougher Law

  • While the top players of the over Rs 850 billion pharmaceutical business are up in arms over what they call rampant spread of counterfeit drugs (allegedly 20 to 25 per cent of total pharma sales) in the country, enforcement agencies and some pharma associations say the situation is not that alarming.

    India News Digest: Mumbai Prepares for Highest Tide in 100 Years

  • According to interviews with several law enforcement officials in Bernalillo County and a review of documents, White traveled to Washington with two other Republican operatives in 2006 to complain to the Justice Department that Iglesias was balking at bringing criminal charges against what they called rampant voter fraud – and that he should be fired.

    GOP Contender Linked to Attorney Firing

  • In 2006, this former high-level immigration official testified before Congress on what he described as rampant corruption in the agency.

    CNN Transcript Mar 22, 2008

  • In 2006 this former high level immigration official testified before congress on what he described as rampant corruption in the agency.

    CNN Transcript Mar 23, 2008

Comments

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  • In heraldry, describes the position of any beast reared up on one (left) hind leg with forelegs in the air, the right above the left, and the head in profile. (cited in OED)

    February 5, 2007