adjective, rip·er, rip·est.

  1. having arrived at such a stage of growth or development as to be ready for reaping, gathering, eating, or use, as grain or fruit; completely matured.
  2. resembling such fruit, as in ruddiness and fullness: ripe, red lips.
  3. advanced to the point of being in the best condition for use, as cheese or beer.
  4. fully grown or developed, as animals when ready to be killed and used for food.
  5. arrived at the highest or a high point of development or excellence; mature.
  6. of mature judgment or knowledge: ripe scholars; a ripe mind.
  7. characterized by full development of body or mind: of ripe years.
  8. (of time) advanced: a ripe old age.
  9. (of ideas, plans, etc.) ready for action, execution, etc.
  10. (of people) fully prepared or ready to do or undergo something: He was ripe for a change in jobs.
  11. fully or sufficiently advanced; ready enough; auspicious: The time is ripe for a new foreign policy.
  12. ready for some operation or process: a ripe abscess.
  13. Archaic. drunk: reeling ripe.


  1. (of fruit, grain, etc) mature and ready to be eaten or used; fully developed
  2. mature enough to be eaten or usedripe cheese
  3. fully developed in mind or body
  4. resembling ripe fruit, esp in redness or fullnessa ripe complexion
  5. (postpositive foll by for) ready or eager (to undertake or undergo an action)
  6. (postpositive foll by for) suitable; right or opportunethe time is not yet ripe
  7. mature in judgment or knowledge
  8. advanced but healthy (esp in the phrase a ripe old age)
  9. slang
    1. complete; thorough
    2. excessive; exorbitant
  10. slang slightly indecent; risqué

Old English ripe “ready for reaping, fit for eating, mature,” from West Germanic *ripijaz (cf. Old Saxon ripi, Middle Dutch ripe, Dutch rijp, Old High German rifi, German reif); related to Old English repan “to reap” (see reap). Meaning “ready for some action or effect” is from 1590s. Related: Ripely; ripeness.

In addition to the idiom beginning with ripe

  • ripe old age

also see:

  • time is ripe
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