• An underwater vane used to steer a vessel. The rudder is controlled by means of a wheel, tiller or other apparatus (modern vessels can be controlled even with a joystick or an autopilot).
  • A control surface on the vertical stabilizer of a fixed-wing aircraft or an autogyro. On some craft, the entire vertical stabilizer comprises the rudder. The rudder is controlled by foot-operated control pedals.
  • A riddle or sieve.
  • That which resembles a rudder as a guide or governor; that which guides or governs the course.


  • From Middle English rodder, rother, ruder, from Old English rōþor ("oar, rudder"), from Proto-West Germanic *rōþr, from Proto-Germanic *rōþrą ("oar, rudder") (compare Dutch and West Frisian roer, German Ruder), from , from Proto-Indo-European *h₁reh₁- ("to row") + Proto-Germanic *-þrą, *-þraz, instrumental suffix. Akin to Old English rōwan ("to row"). More at rōwan, -þor.

Modern English dictionary

Explore and search massive catalog of over 900,000 word meanings.

Word of the Day

Get a curated memorable word every day.

Challenge yourself

Level up your vocabulary by setting personal goals.

And much more

Try out Vedaist now.