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“Now sr. you’r a compleat macaroni”, an 18th-century engraving by James Caldwall after a work by Michel-Vincent Brandoin, from the collection of the Wellcome Library in London, UK. It is a caricature of a “macaroni” – a dandy or fop – strolling with his hat off. His wig is so heavy that his hairdresser is supporting its weight. The word dude used to be slang for a fastidious man or fop.


Origin uncertain, though likely derived from doodle (fool, simpleton, mindless person), perhaps with reference to the fashionable “Yankee Doodle dandy” in the 18th-century lyrics of the song “Yankee Doodle”;[1] the word is first attested in 1883[2][3] as a New York City slang term of contempt for a “fastidious man, fop”.[4]

It has also been suggested that the word is derived from dudes (“old rags”; compare duds) and dudesman (scarecrow),[5] or possibly related to dawdle; to German Low German Dudeldop, Dudendop (fool, dunce), from Middle Low German dudendop (cuckold; simpleton); or to Saterland Frisian Duddigegen (idiot).

The common claim that the term derives from (or is) a word for a camel's foreskin (or some other vulgar thing, like a hair on a cow, horse, donkey, or elephant's bottom) is false.



dude (plural dudes)

  1. (chiefly US, colloquial) A man, generally a younger man.
    So we were at the mall and these two dudes just walk up to us and say "hi".
    • 1883 March 7, “Animal Intelligence: Facts Tending to Throw Light on the Question: ‘Do Dudes Reason?’”, in Puck, volume XIII, number 313, New York, N.Y.: Keppler & Schwarzmann, OCLC 15863678, page 299:
      A very pretty little dudine of Fifth Avenue is much admired by the dudes in her neighborhood, and it has been observed on several occasions that she appeared to be able to discriminate between them, and not only shows a preference for one dude over another; but is able to recognize the dudes she likes after an interval of separation. It is said, also, that in accepting the attentions of her dude wooers, she shows a peculiar mimicry of the coquettish manners of human girls.
    • 1896, J. Harington Keene, “Directions for Reading Character from Handwriting”, in The Mystery of Handwriting: A Handbook of Graphology, Boston, Mass.: Lee and Shepard Publishers, 10 Milk Street, OCLC 457834067, page 19:
      At first sight it may seem odd that the character-reader should in any case declare himself incapable of distinguishing sex in writing. [] The most prevalent reason for this probably lies in the so-called "emancipation of women," who, on aping the masculine pursuits and propensities, really acquire the virile tone of character. In a similar way the "dude" of the day becomes androgynous; and the result in one case is a masculine soul in a woman's shape, and in the other a feminine soul in the degraded form of the so-called "dude".
    • 2014, Tim J. Myers, “Choc Rocks”, in Rude Dude's Book of Food: Stories behind Some of the Crazy-Cool Stuff We Eat, [Sanger, Calif.]: Familius, →ISBN:
      At first Europeans didn't realize what chocolate could be—poor guys! [Christopher] Columbus saw cacao beans in 1503, but he didn't have a clue. (No surprise—dude thought he was in India!)
    • 2016, Oliver Benjamin, “Additional Notes from the Author”, in The Dude De Ching, new annotated edition, [s.l.]: Abide University Press; Dudeism, LLC:
      Though the term "dude" originated as a term to describe a certain type of male, and then later to refer to men in general, today it is often used to refer to both genders, at least in certain parts of the United States. Dudeism doesn't recognize "dude" as a gender-specific word. We consider both women and men who exhibit dude-like qualities to be "dudes," and assert that the word "dude" can mean many different things depending on the context.
  2. (colloquial, used in the vocative) A term of address for someone, typically a man, particularly when cautioning him or offering him advice.
    Dude, I'd be careful around the principal; he's having a bad day.
    Watch it, dude; you almost knocked me over.
    • 2011, C. J. Pascoe, “Becoming Mr. Cougar: Institutionalizing Heterosexuality and Masculinity at River High”, in Dude, You're a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School, Berkeley; Los Angeles, Calif.: University of California Press, →ISBN, page 37:
      The session concluded as Josh, disgusted and surprised, yelled, "Dude, you hit like a girl!" The boys in auto shop drew on images of both femininity—"you hit like a girl"—and bisexuality—"I'll show you a switch hitter." (A bisexual man was often referred to as a "switch hitter" or as someone who "played for both teams.")
  3. An inexperienced cowboy.
    • [1896, George H. Hamilton, Sunlight; or, The Diamond King. A Western Drama, in Four Acts (Ames' Series of Standard and Minor Drama; no. 372), Clyde, Oh.: Ames' Publishing Co., OCLC 8223374, page 14:
      Dollie. [] [W]hen I went I had a proposal of marriage. / Silas. Who from, Dollie? / Dollie. Why, from a man— / Silas. Oh! I thought it was from a dude. / Dollie. Not this time.]
  4. (slang) A tourist.
    • 2006 July–August, J. P. S. Brown, “Hard to Replace: Bill Scott Knows the Value of a Good Horse, a Good Customer, and a Way of Life”, in American Cowboy, Sheridan, Wy.: American Cowboy, ISSN 1079-3690, OCLC 35819721, pages 74 and 76:
      Dudes are at least as entertaining as cows, even when they don't mean to be. A cow can’t voice that honestly curious question that turns a poor cowboy into a laughing fool the way a dude can. Probably nothing in the world can move a cowboy more than a newborn calf's clean, good looks and actions, unless it’s the look of awe on a little dude’s face the first time it sees a cowboy on a horse.
    • 2011, Richard W. Bevis, “Mi Tsi A-da-zi”, in Dudes and Savages: The Resonance of Yellowstone, [Bloomington, Ind.]: Trafford Publishing, →ISBN, page 32:
      The "dudes" are the automobile and bus tourists, mere passers-through: thousands a summer day, millions a season. [] "Dude" expresses perfectly the image that seasonals from the stagecoach driver to the gas-pump jockey have had of tourists: soft, wealthy, uninitiated, ignorant, lowland and (preferably) eastern. [] For the average dude – if such a construct may be admitted – the park is an unusual commodity, financed by his taxes, from which he is therefore entitled to extract as much use and pleasure as he can from the rangers and seasonals who stand in his way.
    • 2014, Jeremy Agnew, “The Image Persists”, in The Creation of the Cowboy Hero: Fiction, Film and Fact, Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, →ISBN, page 212:
      "Dude" was originally a name for ranch vacationers with no disrespect attached, but it later became derisively associated with clueless easterners who knew nothing of Western ways, as portrayed by Bob Hope in Son of Paleface (1952). Junior's fiancé[sic, meaning fiancée] (Jane Russell) tells him to "go out West." When Junior (Bob Hope) wants to show that he has become a Westerner, he wears a tall outsized white hat like Tom Mix and white wooly chaps, the traditional movie outfit representing an eastern dude. A female dude was known as a "dudess" or "dudine."
  5. (archaic) A man who is very concerned about his dress and appearance; a dandy, a fop.
    • 1883 March 7, “Signs of Spring”, in Puck, volume XIII, number 313, New York, N.Y.: Keppler & Schwarzmann, OCLC 15863678, page 21:
      When the dude dons gloves couleur de chien jaune éclairé de la lune
      [the colour of a yellow dog lighted by the moon]
    • 1889, Melville D[e Lancey] Landon, “Eli Perkins’ Dudes”, in Wit and Humor of the Age, Comprising Wit, Humor, Pathos, Ridicule, Satires, Dialects, Puns, Conundrums, Riddles, Charades, Jokes and Magic: By Mark Twain, Josh Billings, Robt. J[ones] Burdette, Alex. Sweet, Eli Perkins: With the Philosophy of Wit and Humor, Chicago, Ill.: G. Cline Pub. House, OCLC 6051559, page 246:
      There are three kinds of dudes in New York. There is the inanimate rich dude who don't want to do a thing on earth but exhibit himself. Then there is the poor dude, who dresses like the rich dude, and who wants to marry a rich girl []

Alternative formsEdit


Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.



  1. (slang) A term of address, usually for a man, conveying awe, excitement, surprise, etc.
    Dude! You finally called!
    • 2011, Karen Marie Moning, Shadowfever: A Novel (The Fever Series; 5), New York, N.Y.: Delacorte Press, →ISBN:
      And, feckin' A, you ain't never gonna guess this one—dude! [] Thinking this is a little worse than me watching porn. Dude.


dude (third-person singular simple present dudes, present participle dudeing or duding, simple past and past participle duded)

  1. To address someone as dude.
    • 2011, Karen Marie Moning, Shadowfever (The Fever Series; 5), New York, N.Y.: Delacorte Press, →ISBN:
      "Where you been, Mac? I missed you! Dude—I mean, man," she corrects hastily, with a gamine grin, before I can make good on a threat I made in what feels like another lifetime that I would call her by her full name if she ever "duded" me again. [] Oh, yes, she's upset. She just unapologetically "duded" me.
    • 2013, Maurene Goo, Since You Asked …, New York, N.Y.: Scholastic Press, →ISBN:
      The other two guys with him burst into laughter, dudeing and high-fiving like mad.
    • 2015, Chris Weitz, “Donna”, in The New Order, New York, N.Y.; Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown and Company, →ISBN:
      After the high fives comes a lot of dude-ing and hugging and I'm-so-happy-to-see-you-ing, and then the sugarcoating of seeing one another again sort of dissolves and we find ourselves in this dinky screening room thing under the eyes of our captors.
  2. To take a vacation in a dude ranch.
    • 1949, Fortnight: The Newsmagazine of California, [Los Angeles, Calif.]: O.D. Keep Associates, OCLC 6923729, page 22, column 3:
      The Old Hearst Ranch [] is one of the West's largest and most elaborate dude ranches and includes over 500 acres of woodland trails. There's "dudeing" with all the trimmings, excellent food and rooms at the lodge or individual cabanas.
    • 2001, Janice Sanford Beck, “Tepee Life in the Northern Hills (1924)”, in No Ordinary Woman: The Story of Mary Schäffer Warren, Surrey, B.C.: Rocky Mountain Books, →ISBN, page 182:
      I am certainly interested in this "dude community" business just because I have tried it in the slightest kind of way. In camping it's "the fewer the better," but in "dudeing" it may be "the more the merrier."
  3. (US) Usually followed by up: to dress up, to wear smart or special clothes.
    • 1980, John G. Mitchell, The Hunt, New York, N.Y.: Knopf, →ISBN, page 229:
      It seemed that the fellas couldn't get enough girlin' and racing fast cars and grooving to rock and dudeing around in city-slick suits from St. Louis.
    • 1994, Sydell I. Voeller, chapter 8, in Her Sister's Keeper, New York, N.Y.: Avalon Press, ISBN 978-0-8034-9063-5; republished Amherst Junction, Wis.: Hard Shell Word Factory, February 2002, ISBN 978-0-7599-0223-7, page 81:
      "Speaking of being duded out …" He shrugged, then handed her the bag. "Here. This is for you." / She reached inside and gasped as she pulled out a white suede western style hat. A glittering gold braid encircled the brim. / "Oh, Zack! It's beautiful. Thank you."
    • 1998, Victoria Pade, Cowboy's Love (Silhouette Special Edition; 1159), New York, N.Y.: Silhouette Books, →ISBN:
      "Ol' Clint's all duded up, too," Cully announced as Savannah opened the door to the only Culhane she had eyes for. "All duded up" meant Clint had on a pair of gray slacks that no Savile Row tailor could have made fit any better; a crisp, blindingly white Western dress shirt with pearl snaps down the front; and a black string tie held together with a small silver CC []


  1. ^ Barry Popik; Gerald Cohen (October–November 2013) Comments on Etymology, volume 23, issue 1; see Allan Metcalf (21 October 2013), “Dude!”, in The Chronicle of Higher Education[1], archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  2. ^ dude” in Unabridged,, LLC, 1995–present.
  3. ^ dude” in Merriam–Webster Online Dictionary.
  4. ^ dude” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.
  5. ^ Richard Hill (1994), “You’ve Come a Long Way, Dude—A History”, in American Speech, issue 69, pages 321–327, cited in Scott F[abius] Kiesling (2004), “Dude”, in American Speech, volume 79, issue 3.

Further readingEdit


Middle EnglishEdit



  1. did



  This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this term, please add it to the page per etymology instructions, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.


  • IPA(key): /dùːdɛ/, /dúːdɛ/


dūde f pl

  1. bagpipes (musical instrument)


Feminine, a-stem
nominative dúde
genitive dúd
nominative dúde
accusative dúde
genitive dúd
dative dúdam
locative dúdah
instrumental dúdami





  1. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of dudar.
  2. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of dudar.
  3. Formal second-person singular (usted) imperative form of dudar.