Definition of rudder in US English:



  • 1A flat piece hinged vertically near the stern of a boat or ship for steering.

    • ‘The Nubian boat captain piloted the rudder with his foot.’
    • ‘The vessel is fitted with two pairs of active stabilising fins and twin rudders and has bow and stern thrusters.’
    • ‘Under the stern, the rudders and propellers keep the hull clear of the bottom.’
    • ‘Stern horizontal rudders levelled off the submarine underwater.’
    • ‘The stricken yacht had significant flooding to her port demi-hull, the port engine was damaged, the starboard rudder was gone and there was damage to the port rudder.’
    • ‘I slammed the rudder and the boat peeled hard to starboard.’
    • ‘It was no cabin cruiser, but with the rudder salvaged from the Minnow, and a mast and sail added, the boat should be navigable.’
    • ‘Helicopter rescue teams braved strong winds and waves yesterday to save 16 sailors from a ship that lost its rudder and was pitching wildly at sea as a powerful typhoon swept toward China.’
    • ‘The tiny trimtab turns the rudder, and the little rudder turns the giant ship.’
    • ‘Later, I heard that one torpedo had hit the rudder and put its steering out of action.’
    • ‘The sailboat has a fin keel and a rudder that resemble the dorsal and pectoral fins of orcas.’
    • ‘It also emerged at the meeting that there were problems with the steering and the rudder.’
    • ‘These were clinker-built - that is, with timbers overlapping and not laid flush - with flat bottom, straight stem and stern posts, a stern rudder and a single sail.’
    • ‘He was unable to row the boat and couldn't steer the vessel having lost his rudder on day one of the voyage.’
    • ‘The vessel was 70 percent complete but was without engines, rudders, or armament.’
    • ‘The ship has two shafts with controllable pitch propellers, two rudders and a pair of active stabilising fins.’
    • ‘Volunteer boatbuilder Henry Thuys tests if the new rudder of the Batavia long boat is responding smoothly.’
    • ‘The ship has two controllable pitch propellers and two rudders with rudder roll stabilisation.’
    • ‘Rotating the pod or drive unit provides directional control, eliminating the need for rudders to redirect the flow of water from the prop.’
    • ‘The ship has rudders and bowthrusters for harbour manoeuvring.’
    tiller, wheel
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A vertical airfoil pivoted from the horizontal stabilizer of an aircraft, for controlling movement around the vertical axis.
      • ‘The rudders have been replaced along with the trim cables, the skin of the airplane has seen detailed attention and fresh paint, and corroded pieces have been removed and replaced.’
      • ‘The only contract resulting from the purchase was for the trifling job of producing directional rudders for the planes.’
      • ‘The vertical rudder jams, and the stern diving planes cannot be controlled.’
      • ‘Spring tabs were added to the elevators and rudders to help control forces during high speed flight.’
      • ‘Although a helicopter has a main blade, rotating at 500 rpm above it, and a tail rotor that acts as a rudder, it remains a completely unstable machine.’
      • ‘The Hunter air vehicle is a fixed wing, twin tail boom aircraft with a dual rudder.’
      • ‘Another area of intense interest to investigators is the plane's vertical tail, or fin, and its rudder, both of which were found more than half a mile from the impact site, in nearby Jamaica Bay.’
      • ‘The tail unit comprises all-moving horizontal tail surfaces and a single-fin vertical tail fitted with a rudder.’
      • ‘It was similar to the noise you hear when the aircraft is in a slight sideslip, or the rudder is out of trim.’
      • ‘Use rudders for heading control and only small jabs of the yoke to correct pitch and bank excursions.’
      • ‘Agglomerations of wings and cowling, flaps, rudders and fuselage rise dramatically from narrow steel legs.’
      • ‘Once the pilot has established the desired bank angle, the rudder and the aileron are neutralized so that the bank remains constant.’
      • ‘An hour later, by manually working the rudders and flaps, Campbell made a near-perfect landing amid cheers from fellow airmen deployed from Pope.’
      • ‘An aeroplane requires a set of wings for lift, wing flaps and rear rudder for control and engines for propulsion.’
      • ‘Yaw and pitch were to be controlled through a tail-mounted rudder and elevator connected by cables to the flier's seat and a shoulder yoke.’
      • ‘Normal turns may be made with the use of ailerons alone and satisfactory turns may be made with rudders alone, although yaw developed may be unpleasant to passengers.’
      • ‘As we towed a glider, the nylon rope broke and whiplashed into our plane, damaging the rudder.’
      • ‘Instead of a traditional rudder for yaw control, the upper and lower surfaces are each fitted with two sections of moving surfaces.’
      • ‘The tail fin and the rudder attached to it were discovered half a mile from where the fuselage and engines came to rest.’
      • ‘I was about to tell the pilot to use the rudders to bring the aircraft to centerline when he said he couldn't keep the aircraft straight.’
    2. 1.2 Application of a rudder in steering a boat, ship, or aircraft.
      ‘bring the aircraft to a stall and apply full rudder’
      ‘a small amount of extra rudder’
      • ‘The aircraft immediately veered to the left and required right rudder inputs to stay on the runway.’
      • ‘I must have instinctively closed the throttle, and when I again broke cloud I applied full opposite left rudder.’
      • ‘This was the only airspeed that provided a predictable and constant level of yaw that I could counter with full rudder.’
      • ‘The Instrument Landing System worked fine, and the only surprise was how much rudder it required to maintain coordinated flight once it was configured.’
      • ‘My first concern was to control the yaw, so I threw a bootful of rudder toward the good engine, while I established a right-hand bank.’
      • ‘It is a challenging aircraft in a crosswind and requires a lot of rudder and nosewheel steering to maintain centerline on the rollout.’
      • ‘I felt my copilot initially increase right rudder, trying to stop the aircraft's left drift.’
      • ‘Capt Yost continued the approach, skillfully aligning the aircraft with the runway using right rudder and fanning the speed-brakes once the landing was assured.’
      • ‘Both pilots had to input left rudder to maintain directional control.’
      • ‘Nelson used full left rudder and differential thrust to make an arrested landing.’
      • ‘As the hook engaged the wire, I countered the right yaw with rudder and kept the right wing off the deck for as long as I could.’
      • ‘The aircraft continued to yaw left, despite both pilots putting in full right rudder.’
      • ‘Now I did have a blown tire, and as the aircraft slowed through 100 knots, the pull to the right required almost a full boot of left rudder to keep the aircraft on the runway.’
      • ‘I then applied full right rudder and what lateral-stick movement I could to regain upright level flight.’
      • ‘As power on the good engine came up, yaw would have to be countered with rudder into the good engine.’
      • ‘I threw in a boot full of right rudder to stop the nose from falling below the horizon.’
      • ‘Applying a little left rudder for lineup at the last second, I watched in amazement as my probe hit brass-to-brass in the center of the basket.’
      • ‘It is highly spin-resistant, requiring full rudder to initiate and maintain a spin and recovering in one turn after centralising the flying controls.’
      • ‘Suddenly, the aircraft swerved to the right, so I countered with rudder, making the aircraft swerve left centerline.’


Old English rōther ‘paddle, oar’, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch roer, German Ruder, also to the verb row.