a. One of a series of long curved bones occurring in 12 pairs in humans and extending from the spine to or toward the sternum.
b. A similar bone in most vertebrates.
2. A part or piece similar to a rib and serving to shape or support: the rib of an umbrella.
3. A cut of meat enclosing one or more rib bones.
4. Nautical One of many curved members attached to a boat or ship's keel and extending upward and outward to form the framework of the hull.
5. One of many transverse pieces that provide an airplane wing with shape and strength.
6. Architecture A long, narrow, usually arched member projecting from the surface of a structure, especially such a member separating the webs of a vault.
7. A raised ridge or wale in knitted material or in cloth.
8. Botany The main vein or any of the prominent veins of a leaf or other plant organ.
9. Slang A teasing remark or action; a joke.
tr.v. ribbed, rib·bing, ribs
1. To shape, support, or provide with a rib or ribs.
2. To make with ridges or raised markings.
3. Informal To tease or make fun of: ribbed my friend about losing the game.
[Middle English, from Old English ribb.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.