There are 2 main definitions of rib in English:

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rib 1

Line breaks: rib


1Each of a series of slender curved bones articulated in pairs to the spine (twelve pairs in humans), protecting the thoracic cavity and its organs: he had several broken ribs
More example sentences
  • As it was, he survived with a broken jaw, ribs and collar bone.
  • The team also discovered parts of a thigh bone, ribs, vertebrae, a collarbone, pelvis and shoulder blade.
  • Miss Gomersall, whose injuries included a broken jaw and a fractured collar bone, ribs and pelvis, could not remember anything about the crash.
1.1A rib of an animal with meat adhering to it used as food; a joint consisting of animal ribs: a lunch of ribs, wings, and blueberry pie [mass noun]: 1,300 lb of beef rib
More example sentences
  • Chewing pork ribs with meat that falls off the bone, glazed in a finger-licking sticky sauce, is one of the pleasures I enjoy on holiday.
  • Discard the vegetables and bones, or if you're using beef ribs, remove the meat before discarding the bones.
  • I am keen on the idea of a wing rib of beef, after all it is the traditional Christmas day dish.
2A long raised piece of strengthening or supporting material, in particular:
Example sentences
  • This boat then had 11 ribs added to strengthen the hull.
  • The rib was then raised into position, and pulled sideways to connect to the dovetails on the cross supports.
  • The roof was made from exterior oak trusses covered in lead while the original ceiling was of medieval construction with oak ribs and bosses and panels between of thin oak boarding.
2.1 Architecture A curved member supporting a vault or defining its form: stone is used only for ribs, piers, and windows [as modifier]: a rib vault
More example sentences
  • By reducing the complexity of traditional intersecting rib vaults, he proposed a pure barrel form, cantilevered above a glazed screen.
  • This abbreviated variation of the looping rib vault was also an innovation of Benedikt Ried in Bohemia and his followers in Germany.
  • Aalto's trademark ribs of cobalt blue tiles impart a lively rhythm to the angled wall that faces the bank of elevators.
2.2A curved transverse strut of metal or timber in a ship, extending up from the keel and forming part of the framework of the hull: the hull was stiffened with 26 ribs
More example sentences
  • He refers to the presence of a keel and ribs made of light timbers, which indicates he was referring to curraghs.
  • Indeed, the structure of the world was sometimes compared to that of building a ship, where the keel and ribs would be laid out first.
  • The transverse ribs and the deck are similar to those in the back spans.
2.3Each of the curved pieces of wood forming the body of a lute or the sides of a violin.
2.4Each of the hinged rods supporting the fabric of an umbrella.
Example sentences
  • If the nails are not steel, we ask the children to try to get a piece of old bicycle spoke or an umbrella rib, and bend it backwards and forwards until they have broken a piece off.
  • The umbrella itself has tiny holes and is pulled slightly off one rib.
2.5 Aeronautics A structural member in an aerofoil, extending back from the leading edge and serving to define the contour of the aerofoil.
Example sentences
  • The 7075 tubing allows us to shave a few pounds off the wing and the carbon ribs reduce the weight by almost another 2 pounds.
  • There, full-depth tank-end wing ribs formed the ends of the four-tank fuel system.
3A vein of a leaf or an insect’s wing: a spinach-type leaf with red ribs
More example sentences
  • Whole leaves, leaf ribs, leaves without ribs, and petioles were separately analysed.
  • Here is a central rib of the leaf blade with mesophyll composed of undifferentiated cells.
  • That is, leaf tissues yellow while the leaf ribs remain green.
3.1A ridge of rock or land: the final rib gives pleasant climbing
More example sentences
  • The floor is crisscrossed by ribs of rock that lie just under the flowing stream.
  • It led to a snow-filled gully, then a rib of loose rock.
  • She followed the rib of rock to the left where the ground continued to be fairly level.
4 [mass noun] Knitting A combination of alternate plain and purl stitches producing a ridged, slightly elastic fabric: knit twenty rows of rib [count noun]: knit a new rib
More example sentences
  • I particularly liked this pattern, which was easy to memorise and a tad more interesting than a rib or stocking stitch.
  • Mark a centerline across the top of each rib and lay out four evenly spaced hole locations. 5.
  • A very forgiving rib, easy to memorise and fast to knit.

verb (ribs, ribbing, ribbed)

[with object] Back to top  
1Mark with or form into ridges: the road was ribbed with furrows of slush
More example sentences
  • In the daytime there had been the basking ridge where great ribbed wings of iridescent green or gray or black, dull red or brown or yellow, stretched to channel the sun to the dragon's quickening savoring bodies.
  • The stained concrete was ribbed, ridged and textured to a rather extreme extent.
  • You can now choose from vertical tubes, sometimes with sinuous curves, thin wall-hugging panels or wacky shapes, many of which make a strong, sculptural statement, replacing the mundane beige ribbed slabs you dislike so much.
1.1Provide with ribs: the aisle vaults are lower, but are also ribbed and painted
More example sentences
  • Office ceilings are made of thin, ribbed concrete slabs painted white and curving towards the natural light.
2 informal Tease good-naturedly: the first time I appeared in the outfit I was ribbed mercilessly
More example sentences
  • There's so much affection in the way that they cheer each other on, in the loving way they interact with their children, in the way that they rib each other and tease and play and work.
  • Billy in particular is a near-perfect example of Angel at its best, constantly presenting all the characters involved with difficult moral choices and at the same time mercilessly ribbing them for acting as they do.
  • Yet I would stress that the first player who goes public with their homosexuality will face few problems from team-mates - over and above being mercilessly ribbed.




Old English rib, ribb (noun), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch rib(be) and German Rippe. Sense 1 of the verb dates from the mid 16th century; the sense 'tease' was originally a US slang usage meaning 'to fool, dupe' (1930s).

Words that rhyme with rib

bib, crib, dib, fib, glib, jib, lib, nib, sib, snib, squib
Definition of rib in:
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There are 2 main definitions of rib in English:

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RIB 2 Line breaks: RIB


A small open boat with a fibreglass hull and inflatable rubber sides.


Acronym from rigid inflatable boat.

Definition of rib in:
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