adjective, rich·er, rich·est.

  1. having wealth or great possessions; abundantly supplied with resources, means, or funds; wealthy: a rich man; a rich nation.
  2. abounding in natural resources: a rich territory.
  3. having wealth or valuable resources (usually followed by in): a country rich in traditions.
  4. abounding (usually followed by in or with): a countryside rich in beauty; a design rich with colors.
  5. of great value or worth; valuable: a rich harvest.
  6. (of food) delectably and perhaps unhealthfully spicy, or sweet and abounding in butter or cream: a rich gravy; a rich pastry.
  7. costly, expensively elegant, or fine, as dress or jewels.
  8. sumptuous; elaborately abundant: a rich feast.
  9. using valuable materials or characterized by elaborate workmanship, as buildings or furniture.
  10. abounding in desirable elements or qualities: a man rich in kindness.
  11. (of wine) strong and finely flavored.
  12. (of color) deep, strong, or vivid: rich purple.
  13. full and mellow in tone: rich sounds; a rich voice.
  14. strongly fragrant; pungent: a rich odor.
  15. producing or yielding abundantly: a rich soil.
  16. abundant, plentiful, or ample: a rich supply.
  17. Automotive. (of a mixture in a fuel system) having a relatively high ratio of fuel to air (contrasted with lean2def 5).
  18. Informal.
    1. highly amusing.
    2. ridiculous; absurd.


  1. (used with a plural verb) rich persons collectively (usually preceded by the): new tax shelters for the rich.


  1. in a rich or elaborate mannera richly decorated carving
  2. fully and appropriatelyhe was richly rewarded for his service


  1. Adrienne. 1929–2012, US poet and feminist writer; her volumes of poetry include Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law (1963) and Diving Into the Wreck (1973)
  2. Buddy, real name Bernard Rich . 1917–87, US jazz drummer and band leader


    1. well supplied with wealth, property, etc; owning much
    2. (as collective noun; preceded by the)the rich
  1. (when postpositive , usually foll by in) having an abundance of natural resources, minerals, etca land rich in metals
  2. producing abundantly; fertilerich soil
  3. (when postpositive , usually foll by in or with) well supplied (with desirable qualities); abundant (in)a country rich with cultural interest
  4. of great worth or quality; valuablea rich collection of antiques
  5. luxuriant or prolifica rich growth of weeds
  6. expensively elegant, elaborate, or fine; costlya rich display
  7. (of food) having a large proportion of flavoursome or fatty ingredients, such as spices, butter, or cream
  8. having a full-bodied flavoura rich ruby port
  9. (of a smell) pungent or fragrant
  10. (of colour) intense or vivid; deepa rich red
  11. (of sound or a voice) full, mellow, or resonant
  12. (of a fuel-air mixture) containing a relatively high proportion of fuelCompare weak (def. 12)
  13. very amusing, laughable, or ridiculousa rich joke; a rich situation


  1. See riches

Old English ricelice “powerfully, sumptuously;” see rich (adj.) + -ly (2).


Old English rice “strong, powerful; great, mighty; of high rank,” in later Old English “wealthy,” from Proto-Germanic *rikijaz (cf. Old Norse rikr, Swedish rik, Danish rig, Old Frisian rike “wealthy, mighty,” Dutch rijk, Old High German rihhi “ruler, powerful, rich,” German reich “rich,” Gothic reiks “ruler, powerful, rich”), borrowed from a Celtic source akin to Gaulish *rix, Old Irish ri (genitive rig) “king,” from PIE root *reg- “move in a straight line,” hence, “direct, rule” (see rex).

The form of the word was influenced in Middle English by Old French riche “wealthy, magnificent, sumptuous,” which is, with Spanish rico, Italian ricco, from Frankish *riki “powerful,” or some other cognate Germanic source.

Old English also had a noun, rice “rule, reign, power, might; authority; empire.” The evolution of the word reflects a connection between wealth and power in the ancient world. Of food and colors, from early 14c.; of sounds, from 1590s. Sense of “entertaining, amusing” is recorded from 1760. The noun meaning “the wealthy” was in Old English.

In addition to the idiom beginning with rich

  • rich as Croesus

also see:

  • embarrassment of riches
  • from rags to riches
  • strike it rich
60 queries 0.285