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

  • noun A narrow strip or band of fabric, especially a fine fabric such as satin or velvet, finished at the edges and used for trimming, tying, or finishing.
  • noun Something, such as a tape measure, that resembles a ribbon.
  • noun A long thin strip.
  • noun Tattered or ragged strips.
  • noun An inked strip of cloth used for making an impression, as in a typewriter.
  • noun A band of colored cloth signifying membership in an order or the award of a prize.
  • noun A strip of colored cloth worn on the left breast of a uniform to indicate the award of a medal or decoration.
  • noun Informal Reins for driving horses.
  • transitive verb To decorate or tie with ribbons.
  • transitive verb To tear into ribbons or shreds.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To stretch into long strips like ribbons: sometimes with out, as soap at one stage of its manufacture.
  • To border with stripes resembling ribbons; stripe; streak.
  • To adorn with ribbons.
  • To form into long narrow strips; cause to take the shape of ribbon.
  • noun Originally, a stripe in a material, or the band or border of a garment, whether woven in the stuff or applied.
  • noun A strip of fine stuff, as silk, satin, or velvet, having two selvages.
  • noun Specifically, the honorary distinction of an order of knighthood, usually in two forms: first, the broad ribbon, denoting the highest class of such an order (for which see cordon, 7); second, the small knot of ribbon worn in the buttonhole by members of an order when not wearing the cross or other badge.
  • noun That which resembles a ribbon in shape; a long and narrow strip of anything.
  • noun plural Reins for driving.
  • noun A strip; a shred: as, the sails were torn to ribbons.
  • noun In spinning, a continuous strand of cotton or other fiber in a loose, untwisted condition; a sliver.
  • noun In metal-working, a long, thin strip of metal, such as a watch-spring
  • noun a thin steel band for a belt, or an endless saw
  • noun a thin band of magnesium for burning
  • noun a thin steel strip for measuring, resembling a tape-line.
  • noun One of the stripes painted on arrow-shafts, generally around the shaftment. Also called clan-mark, owner-mark, game-tally, etc.
  • noun A narrow web of silk for hand-stamps, saturated with free color, which is readily transferred by pressure to paper.
  • noun In stained-glass work and the like, a strip or thin bar of lead grooved to hold the edges of the glass. See lead, 7.
  • noun In heraldry, a bearing considered usually as one of the subordinaries. It is a diminutive of the bend, and one eighth of its width.
  • noun In carpentry, a long thin strip of wood, or a series of such strips, uniting several parts. Compare rib-band.
  • noun Nautical, a painted molding on the side of a ship.
  • noun Figuratively, anything which marks the attainment of an object of ambition; also, the object itself.
  • noun A member of the Order of the Garter.
  • noun The badge of a society pledged to total abstinence from the use of intoxicating drinks: it consists of a bit of blue ribbon worn in a buttonhole.
  • noun The ribbon of a knight of the Legion of Honor.
  • Made of ribbon: as, a ribbon bow; ribbon trimming.
  • In mineralogy, characterized by parallel bands of different colors: as, ribbon agate.
  • [capitalized] Pertaining to the Ribbon Society or to Ribbonism: as, a Ribbon lodge.
  • noun The banding in slates due to the preservation of the original bedding, which may be related to the cleavage at any angle.

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

  • noun A fillet or narrow woven fabric, commonly of silk, used for trimming some part of a woman's attire, for badges, and other decorative purposes.
  • noun A narrow strip or shred
  • noun (Shipbuilding) Same as Rib-band.
  • noun Cant Driving reins.
  • noun (Her.) A bearing similar to the bend, but only one eighth as wide.
  • noun (Spinning) A silver.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A small compressed marine fish of the genus Cepola, having a long, slender, tapering tail. The European species (Cepola rubescens) is light red throughout. Called also band fish.
  • noun (Bot.) a variety of reed canary grass having the leaves stripped with green and white; -- called also Lady's garters. See Reed grass, under Reed.


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

[Middle English ribban, riban, from Old French ruban, probably of Germanic origin; see bhendh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French riban (French: ruban).


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