From Middle English russet, from Anglo-Norman russet, rossat, roset, and Middle French rosset, rousset (“reddish, reddish-brown; a rough wool cloth”), from Middle French rous, rus (“to rouse”) + -et (“suffix indicating diminution”); compare Late Latin rossetum, russetum, russeta (“rough wool cloth”), Latin russus (“red”) (from Proto-Indo-European *h₁rewdʰ- (“red”)), Occitan rosseta (“rough wool cloth”).
- (Received Pronunciation, General American) enPR: rŭsʹĭt, IPA(key): /ˈɹʌsɪt/
- Rhymes: -ʌsɪt
- Hyphenation: rus‧set
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- A reddish-brown color.
- 1664, Francis Gouldman, “Rhacĭnus”, in A Copious Dictionary in Three Parts: I. The English before the Latin [...] II. The Latin before the English [...] III. The Proper Names of Persons, Places, and Other Things Necessary to the Understanding of Historians and Poets [...] The Whole Being a Comprisal of Thomasius and Rider’s Foundations, Holland’s and Holyoak’s Superstructure and Improvements [...], London: Printed by John Field, OCLC 23638387:
- Rhacĭnus, ni; m. Plin[y] ex ῥάχινον, ob coloris ſimilitudinem. A fiſh of ruſſet colour.
- 1805, James [Bentley] Gordon, chapter I, in A History of Ireland, from the Earliest Accounts to the Accomplishment of the Union with Great Britain in 1801. [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, Dublin: Printed by John Jones, 90, Bride-Street, OCLC 955108823, page 6:
- Many of theſe [turf-bogs] are capable of being converted by induſtry into excellent ground, and, where they occupy not too great a proportion of the land, they compenſate for their ruſſet or ſable hues by the abundance of fuel which they yield.
- A coarse, reddish-brown, homespun fabric; clothes made with such fabric.
- 1866, James E[dwin] Thorold Rogers, “On the Price of Textile Fabrics and Clothing”, in A History of Agriculture and Prices in England: From the Year after the Oxford Parliament (1259) to the Commencement of the Continental War (1793): Compiled Entirely from Original and Contemporaneous Records, volume I (1259–1400), Oxford: Clarendon Press, OCLC 811018067, page 575:
- Of the various kinds of woollens, the cheapest appear to be those which are known by the names of ‘bluett,’ ‘russet,’ and ‘blanket.’ […] The second appears to have been almost uniformly an inferior article; but the third is the cheapest of all. The first two terms point to the colour of the stuff, blanket being undyed stuff. It seems that sometimes russet is understood to be cloth made from black wool.
- A variety of apple with rough, russet-colored skin.
- 2014, Alan Davidson, “apple”, in Tom Jaine, editor, The Oxford Companion to Food, 3rd edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 30:
- Russet is the name of a group of apples with distinctive matt brown skin, often spotted or with a faint red flush, and of a flattened lopsided shape. The flesh is crisp and the apples keep well. The flavour is unusual and pearlike. Russets are used both for eating and for cooking.
- A variety of potato with rough, dark gray-brown skin.
- 1817, “Agriculture”, in Encyclopaedia Britannica: Or, a Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Miscellaneous Literature, volume I, 5th enlarged and improved edition, Edinburgh: Printed at the Encyclopædia Press, for Archibald Constable and Company; London: Gale and Fenner; York: Thomas Wilson and Sons, OCLC 29809783, page 322, column 2:
- The cauſe of the curled diſease he attributes to potatoes being of late years produced from ſeed inſtead of roots as formerly. Such will not ſtand good more than two or three years, uſe what method you pleaſe. Laſt ſpring he ſet the old red and white ruſſets, and had not a curled potato amongſt them.
- 2015, Cinda Chavich, “Potatoes”, in The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook: Save Food, Save Money, and Save the Planet, Victoria, B.C.: TouchWood Editions, →ISBN, page 129:
- Potatoes come in so many different shapes, sizes, colors, and types that you need to choose the right potato for the job—dry fluffy russets for baking or gnocchi, waxy reds for potato salads, buttery yellow Sieglinde and blue heirlooms for colorful mashes, French fingerlings to steam for fancy dinners.
- Having a reddish-brown color.
- c. 1599–1601, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies, London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, Act I, scene i, page 153, column 2:
- But looke, the Morne in Ruſſet Mantle clad, / Walkes o're the dew of yon high Eaſterne Hill, […]
- 1786 November, [Samuel Jackson] Pratt, “The Cherry-Tree”, in The Scots Magazine, volume XLVIII, Edinburgh: Printed by Murray and Cochrane, OCLC 984403415, page 556, column 2:
- Oh, long may thoſe, bleſt Cherry-Tree, / Whoſe generous hearts incircle thee, / A deſtiny ſo partial ſhare, / As actual bliſs and fancied care! / And long as theſe fair woodbines twine / Around this ruſſet coat of thine, / May I to all thy friends be join'd / In fondeſt union of the mind: […]
- (archaic) Gray or ash-colored.
- c. 1590–1597, William Shakespeare, “A Midsommer Nights Dreame”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies, London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, Act III, scene ii, page 151, columns 1–2:
- Rustic, homespun, coarse, plain.
- c. 1595–1596 (date written), W. Shakespere [i.e., William Shakespeare], A Pleasant Conceited Comedie Called, Loues Labors Lost. […] (First Quarto), London: […] W[illiam] W[hite] for Cut[h]bert Burby, published 1598, OCLC 61366361; republished as Shakspere’s Loves Labours Lost (Shakspere-Quarto Facsimiles; no. 5), London: W[illiam] Griggs, […], , OCLC 1154977408, [Act V, scene ii]:
- Hencefoorth my wooing minde ſhalbe expreſt / In ruſſet yeas, and honeſt kerſie noes.
- The condition of leather when its treatment is complete, but it is not yet colored (stained) and polished.
- 1813 June, “Duty on Leather: Report from the Select Committee on the Petitions Relating to the Duty on Leather”, in The Literary Panorama, being a Compendium of National Papers and Parliamentary Reports, Illustrative of the History, Statistics, and Commerce of the Empire; a Universal Epitome of Interesting and Amusing Intelligence from All Quarters of the Globe; a Review of Books, and Magazine of Varieties, Forming a Complete Annual Register, volume XIII, London: Printed by Cox and Baylis, Great Queen Street, for C. Taylor, No. 108, Hatton Garden, Holborn, page 720:
- […] I received some bales of leather, that when I sent them to the Currier's to wax them, they having been at the Currier's before, as they came up in the russet state, when I had sent them back to be waxed, he sent me back word they were so badly tanned, and so burnt in the tanning, he could not recommend them, […]
- 1871 July 22, “Commercial Epitome”, in The Economist, Weekly Commercial Times, Bankers’ Gazette, and Railway Monitor: A Political, Literary, and General Newspaper, volume XXIX, number 1,456, [London: Economist Office], OCLC 886630294, page 885, column 1:
- Usually the London leather trade exhibits little animation during the latter part of June, but this year a fair general business was transacted at Leadenhall. […] [I]n curried leather, russet butts and middlings, kip butts of bright manufacture, calf skins, light grain, prime Cordovan, and harness appear in considerable request.
- (botany) Having a rough skin that is reddish-brown or greyish; russeted.
- (transitive, intransitive, of apples, pears, etc.) To develop reddish-brown spots; to cause russeting.
- 1995, T. R. Unruh; P. H. Westigard; K. S. Hagen, “Pear Psylla”, in J. R. Nechols [et al.], editors, Biological Control in the Western United States: Accomplishments and Benefits of Regional Research Project W-84, 1964–1989 (University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Publication; 3361), Oakland, Calif.: Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California, →ISBN, page 95:
- Pear psylla causes damage when nymphs, feeding at high densities on leaves, produce enough honeydew to drip onto the fruit. A black, sooty mold fungus then grows into the honeydew, distorting and russeting the fruit surface, which substantially lowers its commercial value, […]
- 2003, John E. Jackson, “Flowers and Fruits”, in The Biology of Apples and Pears (Biology of Horticultural Crops), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 323:
- Cultivars differ greatly in their propensity to russet: the characteristic is heritable but more than one factor seems to be involved […].
- 2007, Eric [Linn] Ormsby, “Time’s Covenant”, in Time’s Covenant: Selected Poems, Emeryville, Ont.: Biblioasis, →ISBN, prologue, stanza 3, page 256:
- I surprised my own amazement in the looking glass / where the resinous radiance of a chandelier / russeted the chaise longue and the chiffonier. / Autumn lay over everything I loved.