In this adventure we’re untangling the ruddy roots of the word robust.
- Strong and healthy (of people or animals)
- Strong and unlikely to break or fail (of objects or systems)
It comes from Latin rōbustus (oak, oaken, hard, firm, solid), from rōbur (an oak tree, hardness, strength, stronghold), from rōbus (red [esp. oxen]), from Proto-Italic *rouβos (red, ruddy, redheaded), from PIE *h₁rewdʰ- (red) [source].
Words from the same roots include red, rowan, ruby, ruddy and rust in English, rouge (red) in French, and rubor (blusing, blush, embarrassment, shame) and roble (oak, strong object/person, strength) in Spanish [source].
The name Rufus also comes from the same roots, as does the English word rufous, which refers to a reddish brown colour, like rust. It’s mainly found in the name of birds, such as the rufous owl (Ninox rufa, a.k.a. rufous boobook), and the rufous-capped antshrike (Thamnophilus ruficapillus) [source].
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