Rude - rood - rued

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The words rude', 'rood', and 'rued' form one of the sets of homophones listed by the then Poet Laureate Robert Bridges.
(For more, see Bridges homophones). AWE has a category listing our articles on each of these.. They are all pronounced IPA: /ru:d/.

  • 'Rude', which is by far the most commonly used of these words, comes, through Old French, from the Latin rudis, which has a variety of meanings: (of things) 'unwrought, unworked, raw; coarse, rough, badly made'; (of persons) 'young; uncultured, unskilled, clumsy; ignorant, inexperienced'. The English word 'rude' has many of these meanings. It is used of persons, what they say, and what they do, to mean: 'insulting or discourteous' (as in 'Your repeatedly interrupting our guest speaker was unpardonably rude'); 'offensive, vulgar, or obscene' (as in 'The older boys sat at the back of the class and passed the time telling one another rude jokes'); and 'lacking refinement, coarse, uncouth' (as in 'His manner was so urbane that in his presence I always felt as if I were a rude peasant at the court of a king'). 'Rude' is also used of things to mean: 'roughly or crudely made' (as in 'The castaways gathered branches and made themselves a rude shelter on the beach'); and 'abrupt, unexpected, and unpleasant' (as in 'His night in the cells was a rude reminder of the possible consequences of his aggressive behaviour'). 'Rude' may also mean: 'robust or sturdy' (as in 'He was in rude health' or 'They were in rude high spirits'); and 'approximate or imprecise' (as in 'The surveyor cast his eye over the house and quickly made a rude estimate of its value'). In both these latter uses 'rude' must be used prenominally (as in the examples) and cannot be used predicatively - i.e., we cannot say 'His health (or the surveyor's estimate) was rude'.
  • The word 'rood' is another word for a crucifix. Nowadays the word is most commonly used of a large crucifix in a church, usually attached to a beam or screen at the entrance to the chancel (i.e., the part of a church closest to the altar and normally reserved for the clergy and the choir). The word is often used as a modifier, as in 'rood screen', 'rude beam', 'rood arch', i.e., a screen, beam, or arch supporting a crucifix and situated at the entrance to the chancel.
    • Rather differently, a rood is also a unit of square measurement, equivalent to a quarter of an acre (i.e., 1210 square yards or 40 square rods).
Holyroodhouse , commonly known as the Palace of Holyrood', and the district of Edinburgh which houses it and the Scottish Parliament building, Holyrood - the Scottish parliament is often referred to informally as Holyrood, just as the British Parliament is often referred to as 'Westminster', from the district where it is housed - is named after a legendary stag , which caused David I to found an abbey in 1128, whose ruins may still be seen in the 'Queen's Park', or Holyrood Park. His hunting lodge within the park was developed, first by James IV at the start of the 16th century, into the main palace of the monarchs of Scotland, and it is still used by the monarch of the United Kingdom for official visits to Scotland.
There are different versions of the legend. One is that the King was hunting a mysterious stag when he saw that it carried a crucifix between its antlers; another that he was about to be gored by his prey, which had made his horse rear and throw him to the ground, when he was protected - either by the miraculous appearance of a cross from the sky which interposed itself between hunter and hunted, or by the reflection of the sun from a crucifix that he wore around his neck.
  • 'Rued' is the past tense of the verb 'to rue', which means 'to feel regret or remorse for one's past actions or for past events, especially when they have had disagreeable or painful consequences for oneself or others' (as in 'When she thought of all the trouble he had caused her, she rued the day she had first set eyes on him').