Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: ritter


English Wikipedia has an article on:


From Middle High German ritter, from Middle Dutch ridder, Flemish byform of rîder, from rîden + -er (equivalent to German reiten +‎ -er).

In Middle High German, both ritter and rīter (whence modern Reiter) were used in the sense of “horseman”, “mounted man-at-arms”, as well as for the (emerging) rank of “knight”, and, by generalisation, any member of the lower nobility. Gradually, both forms were separated semantically (a vocabulary of 1487 has two distinct entries: miles: ritter vs. equester: reitter), and in early modern German a third (similar, though unrelated) form Reuter, from Dutch, was introduced. In this period, Ritter was the term for the class of the German lower nobility, Reuter was the normal word for a cavalryman, and Reiter was rare but sometimes used for “horseman”. From the 18th century, Ritter was gradually replaced by Kavalier, especially with individual noblemen, whereas the collective Ritterschaft remained in use for the class as a whole. Accordingly, Ritter becomes increasingly limited to the historic or romantic/poetic “medieval knight”.


  • IPA(key): /ˈʁɪtɐ/
  • (file)
  • (file)


Ritter m (genitive Ritters, plural Ritter, female Ritterin)

  1. knight
    1918, Meinrad Lienert, Zürcher Sagen:
    Endlich erschien eines Tages ein wohlgewappneter Ritter und schwor, dass er den Kampf mit dem Drachen aufnehmen wolle.
    Finally one day a well-armed knight appeared, who swore that he would take up arms against the dragon.


Derived terms[edit]


  • Grimm, Deutsches Wörterbuch, s.v. Ritter.
  • Ritter” in Duden online