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See also: Rich, rích, and -rich



From Middle English riche (strong, powerful, rich), from Old English rīċe (powerful, mighty, great, high-ranking, rich, wealthy, strong, potent), from Proto-West Germanic *rīkī (powerful, rich), from Proto-Germanic *rīkijaz (kingly, powerful, rich), from Proto-Germanic *rīks (king, ruler), an early borrowing from Proto-Celtic *rīxs, from Proto-Indo-European *h₃rḗǵs. Reinforced by Old French riche, from the same West Germanic source.



rich (comparative richer, superlative richest)

  1. Wealthy: having a lot of money and possessions.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter VII, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      “A very welcome, kind, useful present, that means to the parish. By the way, Hopkins, let this go no further. We don't want the tale running round that a rich person has arrived. Churchill, my dear fellow, we have such greedy sharks, and wolves in lamb's clothing. []
    • 2013 May 17, George Monbiot, “Money just makes the rich suffer”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 23, page 19:
      In order to grant the rich these pleasures, the social contract is reconfigured. The welfare state is dismantled. […]
  2. Having an intense fatty or sugary flavour.
    a rich dish; rich cream or soup; rich pastry
    • 1929, Robert Dean Frisbee, The Book of Puka-Puka, Eland, published 2019, page 116:
      It is the richest food I have ever eaten, and for this reason I soon learned to partake of it sparingly.
    • 1709-1710, Thomas Baker, Reflections on Learning
      High sauces and rich spices are fetch'd from the Indies.
  3. Remunerative.
    • 2019 December, Justin Blackburn, The Bisexual Christian Suburban Failure Enlightening Bipolar Blues, page 79:
      All racists I grew up with have rich jobs.
  4. Plentiful, abounding, abundant, fulfilling.
    a rich treasury; a rich entertainment; a rich crop
    • 1707, Nicholas Rowe, The Royal Convert:
      Tho' my Date of mortal Life be short, it shall be glorious; / Each minute shall be rich in some great action.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book II”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC:
      The gorgeous East with richest hand / Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold.
    • 2013 July 27, “Battle of the bulge”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8846:
      For countries with rich culinary traditions that date back to the Aztecs and Incas, Mexico and Peru have developed quite a taste for modern food fashions. Mexicans quaff more fizzy drinks than any other country; Peru has the highest density of fast-food joints in the world.
    • 2021 August 18, Lee Cobaj, “Best things to do in Hong Kong”, in The Times[1], →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2021-10-25[2]:
      Sham Shui Po might be one of Hong Kong’s poorest neighbourhoods but it has a rich immigrant history and a glut of fantastic street-food joints.
  5. Yielding large returns; productive or fertile; fruitful.
    rich soil or land; a rich mine
  6. Composed of valuable or costly materials or ingredients; procured at great outlay; highly valued; precious; sumptuous; costly.
    a rich endowment; a rich dress; rich silk or fur; rich presents
  7. Not faint or delicate; vivid.
    a rich red colour
  8. (informal) Very amusing.
    The scene was a rich one.
    a rich incident or character
  9. (informal) Ridiculous, absurd, outrageous, preposterous, especially in a galling, hypocritical, or brazen way.
    • 1858, William Brown (of Montreal), The Commercial Crisis: Its Cause and Cure (page 28)
      Now, if money be a marketable commodity like flour, as the Witness states, is it not rather a rich idea that of selling the use of a barrel of flour instead of the barrel of flour itself?
    • 2017 March 8, Shashi Tharoor, “‘But What About the Railways... ?’ ​​The Myth of Britain’s Gifts to India”, in The Guardian[3], retrieved 14 April 2018:
      It is a bit rich to oppress, torture, imprison, enslave, deport and proscribe a people for 200 years, and then take credit for the fact that they are democratic at the end of it.
  10. (computing) Elaborate, having complex formatting, multimedia, or depth of interaction.
    • 2002, David Austerberry, The Technology of Video and Audio Streaming:
      A skilled multimedia developer will have no problems adding interactive video and audio into existing rich media web pages.
    • 2003, Patricia Cardoza, Patricia DiGiacomo, Using Microsoft Office Outlook 2003:
      Some rich text email messages contain formatting information that's best viewed with Microsoft Word.
    • 2008, Aaron Newman, Adam Steinberg, Jeremy Thomas, Enterprise 2.0 Implementation:
      But what did matter was that the new web platform provided a rich experience.
  11. Of a solute-solvent solution: not weak (not diluted); of strong concentration.
    mixed up a batch that was quite rich
    1. Of a fuel-air mixture: having more fuel (thus less air) than is necessary to burn all of the fuel; less air- or oxygen- rich than necessary for a stoichiometric reaction.
      Antonym: lean
  12. (finance) Trading at a price level which is high relative to historical trends, a similar asset, or (for derivatives) a theoretical value.
    The ETF is trading rich to NAV right now; we can arb this by selling the ETF and buying the underlying constituents.



Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



rich pl (plural only)

  1. The rich people of a society or the world collectively, the rich class of a society.
    • 1926 Jan., F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Rich Boy", The Red Book Magazine, Vol. 46, No. 3, p. 28:
      Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are...
    • 1936 Aug., Ernest Hemingway, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro", Esquire:
      ...if he lived he would never write about her, he knew that now. Nor about any of them. The rich were dull and they drank too much, or they played too much backgammon. They were dull and they were repetitious. He remembered poor Scott Fitzgerald and his romantic awe of them and how he had started a story once that began, "The rich are different from you and me." And how some one had said to Scott, Yes, they have more money. But that was not humorous to Scott. He thought they were a special glamourous race and when he found they weren't it wrecked him just as much as any other thing that wrecked him.
    • 1936 Aug. 15, Maxwell Perkins, letter to Elizabeth Lemmon:
      ...Hem is headed for Wyoming,—& wasn't that reference to Scott, in his splendid story otherwise, contemptable, & more so because he said "I am getting to know the rich" & Molly Colum said—we were at lunch together—"the only difference between the rich & other people is that the rich have more money."
    • 2010 Jan. 27, Matt Taibbi, "Populism: Just Like Racism!", True/Slant:
      This is the same Randian bullshit that we've been hearing from people like Brooks for ages and its entire premise is really revolting and insulting—this idea that the way society works is that the productive "rich" feed the needy "poor," and that any attempt by the latter to punish the former for "excesses" might inspire Atlas to Shrug his way out of town and leave the helpless poor on their own to starve. That's basically Brooks's entire argument here. Yes, the rich and powerful do rig the game in their own favor, and yes, they are guilty of "excesses"—but fucking deal with it, if you want to eat.
    When the poor have no more to eat, they will eat the rich.

Usage notes[edit]

The adjective rich forms two separate plural nouns: the rich are the people characterized by being rich, while riches are the things that make or might make someone rich. The existence of this separate sense of riches generally precludes informal countable use of rich similar to that seen in poors and wealthies.

Derived terms[edit]


rich (third-person singular simple present riches, present participle riching, simple past and past participle riched)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To enrich.
  2. (obsolete, intransitive) To become rich.



Central Franconian[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle High German rīche, from Proto-Germanic *rīkijaz.



rich (masculine riche, feminine rich or riche, comparative richer, superlative et richste)

  1. (most of Ripuarian) rich, wealthy
    • (Can we date this quote?), Traditional (lyrics and music), “Dä hellije Zint Määtes”, a popular song for St. Martin's Day when the children go round singing for sweets:
      Hee wunnt ne riche Mann, dä us vill avjevve kann.
      Vill soll hä jevve, lang soll hä levve!
      Sielig soll hä sterve, der Himmel soll hä erve!
      Here lives a rich man, who can give us a lot.
      A lot he shall give, long he shall live!
      Blessed he shall die, heaven he shall inherit!

Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of riche (rich)