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

  • noun Red ocherous iron ore, used in dyeing and marking.
  • transitive verb To dye or mark with or as if with red ocher.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as reddle.
  • noun . Ruddiness; redness.
  • To mark with ruddle.
  • noun A dialectal variant of riddle.
  • To sift together; mix as through a sieve.
  • To raddle; interweave; crossplait, as twigs or split sticks in making latticework or wattles.

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

  • noun obsolete A riddle or sieve.
  • noun (Min.) A species of red earth colored by iron sesquioxide; red ocher.
  • transitive verb To mark with ruddle; to raddle; to rouge.
  • transitive verb obsolete To raddle or twist.

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

  • noun A form of red ochre sometimes used to mark sheep
  • verb To mark something with red ochre

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

  • noun a red iron ore used in dyeing and marking
  • verb twist or braid together, interlace
  • verb redden as if with a red ocher color


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

[Probably diminutive of rud, red, from Middle English rudde, from Old English rudu; see reudh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

This definition is lacking an etymology or has an incomplete etymology. You can help Wiktionary by giving it a proper etymology.


  • There are those who think that remodelled waists and new caps had better be kept to the towns; but such people, if they would follow out their own argument, would wish to see plough-boys painted with ruddle and milkmaids covered with skins.

    Framley Parsonage

  • It was extracted from ruddle (red ochre) and limonite

    The Land of Midian

  • Such are the kinds of stones that cannot be melted, and realgar, and ochre, and ruddle, and sulphur, and the other things of that kind, most


  • "Your worship," replied Sancho, "had better mark it with ruddle, like the inscriptions on the walls of class rooms, that those who see it may see it plain."

    Don Quixote

  • All along the road the stems and lower branches of the trees are dyed a deep brick-dust color, and I hear moving and pathetic stories of how it ruins clothes, not only utterly spoiling black silk dresses, but staining white petticoats and children's frocks and pinafores with a border of color exactly like the ruddle with which sheep are branded.

    Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science Volume 17, No. 098, February, 1876

  • He had made himself rolling drunk and, suitably to the occasion, had been made into a Highlander by the simple process of robbing him of his breeches and rubbing his head with ruddle.

    The Yeoman Adventurer

  • I now rubbed together some ruddle and dry soil, and the mixture gave a necessary touch of coarseness to her hands.

    The Yeoman Adventurer

  • I tall 'ee, gentlemen, I hain't the ram-faced, ruddle-nosed old fule yeou reckon I be.

    Traffics and Discoveries

  • Jud turn'd rahnd an gurned at th 'frunt o' th 'show wi' his faace aw ruddle.

    English Dialects From the Eighth Century to the Present Day

  • An Jud let floy a good un, an th 'mon wi' th 'spunge had to pick th' blackeymoor up this toime an put th 'ruddle upo' his faace just at-under th'ee.

    English Dialects From the Eighth Century to the Present Day


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  • A lamb,

    joints stiff, brittle, jabs at maternal clogged fleece,

    spattered red (which is ruddle but looks already

    like blood and soon must be).

    - Peter Reading, Spring Letter, from For the Municipality's Elderly, 1974

    June 22, 2008