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in the U.S.
since 1880
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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Rudder mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Rudder

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun Rud"der
A riddle or sieve.
noun Rud"der
  1. [Naut] The mechanical appliance by means of which a vessel is guided or steered when in motion. It is a broad and flat blade made of wood or iron, with a long shank, and is fastened in an upright position, usually by one edge, to the sternpost of the vessel in such a way that it can be turned from side to side in the water by means of a tiller, wheel, or other attachment.
  2. Fig.: That which resembles a rudder as a guide or governor; that which guides or governs the course."For rhyme the rudder is of verses." [Hudibras.]
  3. In an aircraft, a surface the function of which is to exert a turning moment about an axis of the craft.

Etymology: OE. rother, AS. rōðer a paddle; akin to D. roer rudder, oar, G. ruder, OHG. roadar, Sw. roder ror, Dan. roer ror. √ 8. See Row to propel with an oar, and cf. Rother.

Other Dictionary Sources
  1. (nautical) steering mechanism consisting of a hinged vertical plate mounted at the stern of a vessel
  2. A hinged vertical airfoil mounted at the tail of an aircraft and used to make horizontal course changes

From Middle English rodder, rother, ruder, from Old English rōþor (“oar, rudder”), from Proto-Germanic *rōþrą (“oar, rudder”) (compare Dutch and West Frisian roer, German Ruder), from Proto-Germanic *rōaną, from Proto-Indo-European *h₁reh₁- (“to row”) + Proto-Germanic *-þrą, *-þraz, instrumental suffix. Akin to Old English rōwan (“to row”). More at rōwan, -þor.

  1. (nautical) An underwater vane used to steer a vessel. The rudder is controlled by means of a wheel, tiller or other apparatus (modern vessels can be controlled even with a joystick or an autopilot).
  2. (aeronautics) A control surface on the vertical stabilizer of a fixed-wing aircraft or an autogyro. On some craft, the entire vertical stabilizer comprises the rudder. The rudder is controlled by foot-operated control pedals.
  3. A riddle or sieve.
  4. (figuratively) That which resembles a rudder as a guide or governor; that which guides or governs the course.

Notable Persons With the Last Name Rudder

James Earl Rudder is a military person. His military service ended in 1967.


Christian Rudder is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, and entrepreneurship. Christian was born in 1 in Little Rock, Arkansas.


David Rudder is a calypso music and soca music musician. He has been prominent since 1977. David was given the name David Michael Rudder on May 6th, 1953.


Michael was born on June 14th, 1950.


Muhammed Abdullah al-Ahari is a list of essayists, essayist, and public school educator. Muhammed was given the name Ray Allen Rudder on January 6th, 1965.


Pieter was born on July 2nd, 1822 in Jabbeke. He breathed his last breath on March 22nd, 1898.


Where is the name Rudder popular?

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Popularity of Rudder as a last name

The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Rudder as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Tennessee, Alabama, or New York.

Common first names for Rudder

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity Rudder U.S.
  White 76.50% 64.26%
  African American 16.73% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 0.55% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 0.85% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 2.57% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 2.80% 16.26%

Of Last Name Rudder

People with the last name Rudder are most frequently White or African American

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name Rudder

  • How Popular is the name Rudder? As a last name Rudder was the 11,560th most popular name in 2010.
  • When was the first name Rudder first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the name Rudder is Saturday, March 28th, 1903.
  • How unique is the name Rudder? From 1880 to 2017 less than 5 people per year have been born with the first name Rudder. Hoorah! You are a unique individual.
  • Weird things about the name Rudder: Your name in reverse order is Reddur. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Rduerd. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name Rudder? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 2,719 people with the last name Rudder.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Rudder? Chances are, most people haven't met someone with Rudder as their last name since less than 1 person in 109k people have that last name. If you know one, consider yourself lucky!

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
  • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.