Definition of ribald in English:



  • Referring to sexual matters in an amusingly rude or irreverent way.

    ‘a ribald comment’
    • ‘Some of the poetry, written between 1220 and 1250, was blatantly ribald and sensual.’
    • ‘Not all great Jamaican music is serious, and this infectious 70s hit is ribald reggae at its finest.’
    • ‘Not so much among the Catholic faithful and people favorably disposed to the Church, but among the general public the positions and pronouncements of bishops will for years to come be met with ribald comments about clerics and little boys.’
    • ‘His work, like the man himself, is ribald, often obscene, but never vulgar.’
    • ‘How then do you manage to write such ribald stuff?’
    • ‘Three teenage girls fell about laughing and started shrieking ribald comments.’
    • ‘In a word, it was a most pleasant evening, enlivened with ribald laughter from a group of geriatric golfers!’
    • ‘Sternheim's play is ribald, satirical, self referential, and quirky.’
    • ‘One can understand how Pepi achieved cult status in post-Franco Madrid, but it would have been difficult to predict that this ribald production would launch the career that would save the moribund Spanish film industry.’
    • ‘Attempting to capture the saucy spirit of the movies and genre on which the series was based, and even featuring several of the frisky familiar faces from the films, one would anticipate a risqué, ribald offering.’
    • ‘Lincoln was very fond of witty, and quite often ribald, stories, a great many of them having anal references.’
    • ‘Stories rich in erotic or scatological suggestion can elicit ribald laughter as well.’
    • ‘As the title suggests, it's mostly Lynch's movie - the earthy, ribald Nora provides the epicentre for the story, the focus of Joyce's passion and jealousy.’
    • ‘And in attempting to mimic the Greek life as much as possible, some deliciously ribald elements have been included.’
    • ‘Most of the women meet their increasingly gruesome fate in the first half; the second act concentrates on Verna, Jordan's final prey, with the victims acting as a ghostly, often ribald chorus.’
    • ‘You want to put an end to ribald remarks from colleagues at work who put you in charge of the ‘Suggestion Shoebox’!’
    • ‘The material is frequently ribald, often racy, and always laced with profanity.’
    • ‘My questions to other flying crew members brought ribald responses and suggestions of a quite unhelpful nature.’
    • ‘When is a bawdy, ribald tale of a wanton wench and her very naughty sexual adventures as boring as a trip to the Field Museum to watch dinosaur bones fossilize?’
    • ‘It also gained the distinction of being banned in America - presumably because of all those obscene, ribald, raunchy bits about marriage being a partnership of equals.’
    bawdy, indecent, risqué, rude, racy, broad, earthy, rabelaisian, spicy, suggestive, titillating, Improper, naughty, indelicate, indecorous, off colour, locker-room
    vulgar, dirty, filthy, smutty, crude, offensive, salacious, coarse, obscene, lewd, pornographic, x-rated
    blue, raunchy
    fruity, near the knuckle, saucy
    View synonyms


Middle English (as a noun denoting a lowly retainer or a licentious or irreverent person): from Old French ribauld, from riber indulge in licentious pleasures from a Germanic base meaning prostitute.