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From Middle English ribaldrie, from Old French ribaulderie, ribauderie, equivalent to ribald +‎ -ry.


ribaldry (countable and uncountable, plural ribaldries)

  1. Joking or humorous language or behaviour used in a vulgar or lewd fashion.
    • 1629, Fra[ncis] Lenton, “Section XIV. The Young Gallant’s Whirlgig.”, in James Orchard Halliwell, editor, The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom, an Ancient Interlude. [], London: [] Shakespeare Society, published 1846, OCLC 1118530543, page 129:
      Playes are the nurseries of vice, the bawd, / That thorow the senses steales our hearts abroad, / Tainting our eares with obscæne bawdery, / Lascivious words, and wanton ribaulry.
    • about 1900, O. Henry, Hygeia at the Solito
      His jargon of slang was a continuous joy and surprise to them. His gestures, his strange poses, his frank ribaldry of tongue and principle fascinated them.
    • 1986, John le Carré, A Perfect Spy:
      I remember girls with men's muscles flinging fish baskets while they yelled ribaldries at each other, and fishermen strutting among them in their oilskins, too grand to be bothered with anyone but themselves.

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