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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A long, narrow strip of material used for decoration of clothing or the hair or gift wrapping.
  • n. An inked strip of material against which type is pressed to print letters in a typewriter or printer.
  • n. A toolbar that incorporates tabs and menus.
  • n. In ice cream and similar confections, an ingredient (often chocolate, butterscotch, caramel, or fudge) added in a long narrow strip.
  • v. To decorate with ribbon.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. 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.
  • n. A narrow strip or shred
  • n. Same as Rib-band.
  • n. Driving reins.
  • n. A bearing similar to the bend, but only one eighth as wide.
  • n. A silver.
  • transitive v. To adorn with, or as with, ribbons; to mark with stripes resembling ribbons.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Originally, a stripe in a material, or the band or border of a garment, whether woven in the stuff or applied.
  • n. A strip of fine stuff, as silk, satin, or velvet, having two selvages.
  • n. 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.
  • n. That which resembles a ribbon in shape; a long and narrow strip of anything.
  • n. plural Reins for driving.
  • n. A strip; a shred: as, the sails were torn to ribbons.
  • n. In spinning, a continuous strand of cotton or other fiber in a loose, untwisted condition; a sliver.
  • n. In metal-working, a long, thin strip of metal, such as a watch-spring
  • n. a thin steel band for a belt, or an endless saw
  • n. a thin band of magnesium for burning
  • n. a thin steel strip for measuring, resembling a tape-line.
  • n. One of the stripes painted on arrow-shafts, generally around the shaftment. Also called clan-mark, owner-mark, game-tally, etc.
  • n. A narrow web of silk for hand-stamps, saturated with free color, which is readily transferred by pressure to paper.
  • n. 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.
  • n. In heraldry, a bearing considered usually as one of the subordinaries. It is a diminutive of the bend, and one eighth of its width.
  • n. In carpentry, a long thin strip of wood, or a series of such strips, uniting several parts. Compare rib-band.
  • n. Nautical, a painted molding on the side of a ship.
  • n. Figuratively, anything which marks the attainment of an object of ambition; also, the object itself.
  • n. A member of the Order of the Garter.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • 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.
  • n. The banding in slates due to the preservation of the original bedding, which may be related to the cleavage at any angle.
  • To stretch into long strips like ribbons: sometimes with out, as soap at one stage of its manufacture.

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

  • n. an award for winning a championship or commemorating some other event
  • n. a long strip of inked material for making characters on paper with a typewriter
  • n. any long object resembling a thin line
  • n. notion consisting of a narrow strip of fine material used for trimming


Middle English ribban, riban, from Old French ruban, probably of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French riban (French: ruban). (Wiktionary)



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