The adjective is derived from Middle English rash, rasch (“hasty, headstrong, rash”) [and other forms], probably from Old English *ræsc (“rash”) (found in derivatives such as ræscan (“to move rapidly; to flicker; to flash; to glitter; to quiver”), ræscettan (“to crackle; to sparkle”), etc.), from Proto-Germanic *raskaz, *raskuz, *raþskaz, *raþskuz (“rash; rapid”), from Proto-Indo-European *Hreth₂- (“to run, roll”). The Middle English word was probably influenced by the cognates listed below.
- Dutch ras, rasch (“rash”)
- Middle Low German rasch (“rash”)
- Old Danish rask (“agile, nimble; fast; healthy, vigorous”) (modern Danish rask (“agile, nimble; fast; healthy, vigorous; hasty, rash”))
- Old High German reski (“impetuous, rash”) (Middle High German rasch, resch (“agile, nimble; fast; lively; healthy, vigorous”), modern German rasch, räsch, resch (“agile, nimble; fast; hasty, rash; healthy, vigorous; of food: crisp, crusty”))
- Old Norse rǫskr (“brave; healthy, vigorous”) (Icelandic röskur (“strong; healthy, vigorous”))
- Old Swedish rasker (“agile, nimble; brave; fast; vigorous”) (modern Swedish rask (“agile, nimble; fast; healthy, vigorous”))
- Acting too quickly without considering the consequences and risks; not careful; hasty.
- Synonyms: foolhardy, heady, impulsive, precipitate; see also Thesaurus:reckless
- Antonyms: prudent, unrash
- rash words spoken in the heat of debate
- 1563 March 30, John Foxe, “Examinations and Martyrdom of John Philpot”, in Actes and Monuments of These Latter and Perillous Dayes, […], London: […] Iohn Day, […], OCLC 64451939, book V, page :
- 1651, Thomas Hobbes, “Of Imagination”, in Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill, London: […] [William Wilson] for Andrew Crooke, […], OCLC 895063360, first part (Of Man), page 7:
- For ſitting in his [Marcus Junius Brutus's] tent, penſive and troubled vvith the horrour of his raſh act, it vvas not hard for him, ſlumbering in the cold, to dream of that vvhich moſt affrighted him; […]
- 1659, T[itus] Livius [i.e., Livy], “[Book X]”, in Philemon Holland, transl., The Romane Historie […], London: […] W. Hunt, for George Sawbridge, […], OCLC 12997447, page 310:
- [T]hrough the raſh adventure and fool-hardineſs of ſome fevv, an overture only made, and ſome advantage got of performing a great piece of ſervice and vvorthy exploit.
- 1782, William Cowper, “Conversation”, in Poems, London: […] J[oseph] Johnson, […], OCLC 1029672464, page 257:
- So ſhould an ideot vvhile at large he ſtrays, / Find the ſvveet lyre on vvhich an artiſt plays, / VVith raſh and aukvvard force the chords he ſhakes, / And grins vvith vvonder at the jar he makes; […]
- 1814, Dante Alighieri, “Canto V”, in H[enry] F[rancis] Cary, transl., The Vision; or, Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, of Dante Alighieri. [...] In Three Volumes, volume III (Paradise), London: […] [J. Barfield] for Taylor and Hessey, […], OCLC 559008226, lines 63–68, pages 21–22:
- Take then no vow at random: ta'en, with faith / Preserve it; yet not bent, as Jephthah once, / Blindly to execute a rash resolve, / Whom better it had suited to exclaim, / 'I have done ill,' than to redeem his pledge / By doing worse: […]
- 1928, D[avid] H[erbert] Lawrence, chapter XVIII, in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, authorized British edition, London: Martin Secker […], published February 1932 (May 1932 printing), OCLC 560928522, page 283:
- She did a rash thing. She sent a letter to Ivy Bolton, enclosing a note to the keeper, and asking Mrs Bolton to give it to him.
- (Northern England, archaic) Of corn or other grains: so dry as to fall out of the ear with handling.
- (obsolete, rare)
- Requiring swift action; pressing; urgent.
- c. 1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Troylus and Cressida”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene ii]:
- My Lord, I ſcarce haue leiſure to ſalute you, / My matter is ſo raſh: […]
- Taking effect quickly and strongly; fast-acting.
- c. 1596–1599, William Shakespeare, The Second Part of Henrie the Fourth, […], quarto edition, London: […] V[alentine] S[immes] for Andrew Wise, and William Aspley, published 1600, OCLC 55178895, [Act IV, scene iii]:
- [T]he vnited veſſel of their bloud, / […] / Shall neuer leake, though it doe vvorke as ſtrong, / As Aconitum, or raſh gunpovvder.
- c. 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The VVinters Tale”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene ii], page 280, column 1:
- Sir (my Lord) / I could doe this, and that vvith no raſh Potion, / But with a lingring Dram, that ſhould not vvorke / Maliciouſly, like Poyſon.
- 1875–1876, Gerard Manley Hopkins, “The Wreck of the Deutschland”, in Robert Bridges, editor, Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins: Now First Published […], London: Humphrey Milford, published 1918, OCLC 5093462, part 2, stanza 19, page 17:
- [T]he inboard seas run swirling and hawling; / The rash smart sloggering brine / Blinds her; […]
- Requiring swift action; pressing; urgent.
- (archaic) Synonym of
- 1591, Ed[mund] Sp[enser], “Prosopopoia. Or Mother Hubberds Tale.”, in Complaints. Containing Sundrie Small Poemes of the Worlds Vanitie. […], London: […] William Ponsonbie, […], OCLC 15537294:
- Soft Gooddie Sheepe (then ſaid the Foxe) not ſoe: / Vnto the King ſo raſh ye may not goe, / He is vvith greater matter buſied, / Than a Lambe, or the Lambes ovvne mothers hed.
- c. 1603–1604 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene iv], page 327, column 2:
- VVhy do you ſpeake ſo ſtartingly and raſh?
- 1860, George Eliot [pseudonym; Mary Ann Evans], “To Garum Firs”, in The Mill on the Floss […], volume I, Edinburgh; London: William Blackwood and Sons, OCLC 80067893, book I (Boy and Girl), pages 178–179:
- But the right thing 'ud be for Tulliver to go and make it up with her himself, and say he was sorry for speaking so rash.
Probably from Old French rasche, rache (“skin eruption, rash; (specifically) scabies, scurf”) (obsolete), from racher (“to scrape; to scratch”) (although this is only directly attested later than the noun), from Vulgar Latin *rāsicāre (“to scrape”), from Latin rāsus (“scraped, scratched; shaved”), the perfect passive participle of rādō (“to scrape, scratch; to shave; to rub, smooth; to brush along, graze”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *reh₁d- (“to scrape, scratch; to gnaw”). Doublet of rase and raze.
rash (plural rashes)
- (dermatology, medicine) An area of inflamed and irritated skin characterized by reddened spots that may be filled with fluid or pus; also, preceded by a descriptive word (rare or obsolete), an illness characterized by a type of rash.
- He came out in a rash because of an allergy.
- She applied rash cream on herself to reduce the irritation.
- A wet cloth should help with the rash on your arm.
- An irregular distribution or sprinkling of objects resembling a rash (sense 1).
- An outbreak or surge in problems; a spate, string, or trend.
- Synonym: epidemic
- There has been a rash of vandalism lately.
- 1854, Charles Dickens, “Lower and Lower”, in Hard Times. For These Times, London: Bradbury & Evans, […], OCLC 4389957, book the second (Reaping), page 252:
- Wet through and through: with her feet squelching and squashing in her shoes whenever she moved; with a rash of rain upon her classical visage; […]
- 1964 July, “News and Comment: The Broad Street-Richmond line”, in Modern Railways, page 17:
- Until the recent rash of North London line maps appeared on station billboards in the London area of BR, the service undoubtedly suffered from meagre and ineffectual publicity.
- 2019 April 25, Samanth Subramanian, “Hand dryers v paper towels: the surprisingly dirty fight for the right to dry your hands”, in Katharine Viner, editor, The Guardian, London: Guardian News & Media, ISSN 0261-3077, OCLC 229952407, archived from the original on 31 January 2022:
- Science has tried and failed to come to a consensus about the hygienic superiority of one product over the other. Even so, the paper towel industry has funded or promoted a rash of studies claiming that hand dryers turn bathrooms into mosh pits of pathogens.
Uncertain; the word is similar to other words from Germanic or Romance languages listed in the table below, but the connection between the English word and those words is unclear. One suggestion is that they ultimately derive from the town of Arras in France, known for its cloth and wool industries (whence arras (“tapestry, wall hanging”)); compare German Rasch (“lightly woven silk or (usually) worsted fabric”) (said to be from Middle High German arrasch (“arras”), and ultimately from the name of the town), and the obsolete names for the fabric, Catalan drap de arraz, drap d'Arraç, Italian paño de ras (literally “cloth of Arras”). The Oxford English Dictionary states that even if rash did not originally derive from Arras, the name of the town could have influenced the English word.
- Catalan ras (“smooth fabric woven from silk”) (also raç (obsolete))
- Danish rask (“thin, coarse woollen cloth usually made from worsted”) (also rasch (obsolete), derived from German)
- Dutch ras (“woven silk or (usually) worsted fabric”) (also rasch (obsolete, rare), rass (obsolete))
- Middle French ras (modern French ras (“various types of short-nap cloth”))
- German Rasch, Low German Rasch (“lightly woven silk or (usually) worsted fabric”) (archaic or historical)
- Italian raso (“smooth fabric woven from silk”), rascia (“serge”)
- Late Latin rasum (“some form of fabric”), pannus rasus (“satin”)
- Old Occitan ras (modern Occitan ras (“smooth fabric woven from silk”); also rac (obsolete))
- Spanish raso (“smooth fabric woven from silk; other types of fabric”)
- Swedish rask (“thin woollen cloth usually made from worsted; similar cloth made from silk”) (also rasch (archaic), rass (obsolete))
- (historical) Chiefly preceded by a descriptive word: a fabric with a smooth texture woven from silk, worsted, or a mixture of the two, intended as an inferior substitute for silk.
- cloth rash silk rash
- p. 1597, J[ohn] Donne, “[Satyres] Satyre IIII”, in Poems, […] with Elegies on the Authors Death, London: […] M[iles] F[lesher] for Iohn Marriot, […], published 1633, OCLC 1008264503, page 338:
- Sleeveleſſe his jerkin vvas, and it had beene / Velvet, but 'tvvas novv (ſo much ground vvas ſeene) / Become Tufftaffatie; and our children ſhall / See it plaine Raſhe avvhile, or nought at all.
rash (plural rashes)
- (obsolete) A soft crackling or rustling sound.
- 1668 June 22 (first performance; Gregorian calendar), John Dryden, An Evening’s Love, or The Mock-Astrologer. […], In the Savoy [London]: […] T[homas] N[ewcomb] for Henry Herringman, […], published 1671, OCLC 228723624, Act I, scene i, page 3:
- Look on thoſe grave plodding fellovvs, […] I'll undertake three parts of four are going to their Courtezans. I tell thee, Jack, the vvhiſking of a Silk-Govvn, and the raſh of a Tabby-Pettycoat, are as comfortable ſounds to one of theſe rich Citizens, as the chink of their Pieces of Eight.
From Late Middle English rashen, rassh (“to hasten, hurry, rush”) [and other forms], from Old English ræscan (“to move rapidly; to flicker; to flash; to glitter; to quiver”); see further at etymology 1.
- To forcefully move or push (someone or something) in a certain direction.
- c. 1603–1606 (date written), [William Shakespeare], […] His True Chronicle Historie of the Life and Death of King Lear and His Three Daughters. […] (First Quarto), London: […] Nathaniel Butter, […], published 1608, OCLC 54196469, [Act III, scene vii]:
- Reg[an]. VVherefore to Douer ſir? / Gloſt[er, i.e., Gloucester]. Becauſe I vvould not ſee thy cruell nayles / Pluck out his poore old eyes, nor thy fierce ſiſter / In his aurynted fleſh raſh boriſh phangs, […]
- To break (something) forcefully; to smash.
- To emit or issue (something) hastily.
- (rare) Usually followed by up: to prepare (something) with haste; to cobble together, to improvise.
- 1610 October, John Foxe, “[Translation of a Letter of Huldricus Zuinglius, 1 September 1527 (Julian calendar)]”, in The Second Volume of the Ecclesiasticall Historie, Containing the Acts and Monuments of Martyrs, […], volume II, 6th edition, London: […] [Humphrey Lownes] for the Company of Stationers, OCLC 81611923, book VIII, page 987, column 1:
- Retur[n]e to the places of Peter, the one in his firſt epiſtle, the other in the latter: and ſo be you contented with this preſent anſvver raſhed up in haſte.
- To forcefully move or push (someone or something) in a certain direction.
Probably an aphetic form of arace (“to tear up by the roots; to draw away”) (obsolete), from Middle English aracen (“to remove (something) by force, pluck or pull out, tear out; to grab; to lacerate; to flay or skin (an animal); to erase, obliterate”) [and other forms], from Old French aracer, arachier (“to pull off (by physical force)”) [and other forms] (whence Anglo-Norman racher, aracher (“to pluck out, pull out”); modern French arracher (“to pull up, tear out, uproot; to extract, take out (a tooth); to peel, pull off, rip off; to buy, snap up; to fight over; to tear (oneself) away from”)), a variant of esrachier (“to eradicate, get rid of”), from Latin exrādīcāre, ērādīcāre, the present active infinitive of ērādīcō (“to root out; to annihilate, extirpate”), from ē- (a variant of ex- (prefix meaning ‘away; out’)) + rādīx (“root of a plant”) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *wréh₂ds (“root”)) + -ō (suffix forming regular first-conjugation verbs).
- Chiefly followed by away, down, off, out, etc.: to pluck, pull, or rip (something) violently.
- 1596, Edmund Spenser, “Book V, Canto III”, in The Faerie Queene. […], part II (books IV–VI), London: […] [Richard Field] for William Ponsonby, OCLC 932900760, stanza 8, page 214:
- There Marinell great deeds of armes did ſhevv; / And through the thickeſt like a Lyon flevv, / Raſhing off helmes, and ryuing plates a ſonder, / That euery one his daunger did eſchevv.
- 1697, Virgil, “The Ninth Book of the Æneis”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. […], London: […] Jacob Tonson, […], OCLC 403869432, lines 1094–1095, page 496:
- His Creſt is raſh'd away; his ample Shield / Is falſify'd and round with Jav'lins fill'd.
Probably a variant of race, raze (“to demolish; to destroy, obliterate; to scrape as if with a razor”), possibly modelled after rash (etymology 5 or etymology 6). Raze is derived from Middle English rasen, racen, rase (“to scrape; to shave; to erase; to pull; to strip off; to pluck or tear out; to root out (a tree, etc.); to pull away, snatch; to pull down; to knock down; to rend, tear apart; to pick clean, strip; to cleave, slice; to sever; to lacerate; to pierce; to carve, engrave; to dig; (figuratively) to expunge, obliterate; to alter”) [and other forms], from Anglo-Norman raser, rasere, rasser, Middle French, Old French raser (“to shave; to touch lightly, graze; to level off (grain, etc.) in a measure; to demolish, tear down; to erase; to polish; to wear down”), from Vulgar Latin *raso (“to shave; to scrape; to scratch; to touch lightly, graze”), from Latin rāsus (“scraped; shaved”); see further at etymology 2.
- To hack, slash, or slice (something).
- 1596, Edmund Spenser, “Book IV, Canto II”, in The Faerie Queene. […], part II (books IV–VI), London: […] [Richard Field] for William Ponsonby, OCLC 932900760, stanza 17, page 26:
- And dravving both their ſvvords vvith rage extreme, / Like tvvo mad maſtiffes each on other flevv, / And ſhields did ſhare, & mailes did raſh, and helmes did hevv.
- 1599 (first performance; published 1600), Benjamin Jonson [i.e., Ben Jonson], “Euery Man out of His Humour. A Comicall Satyre. […]”, in The Workes of Ben Jonson (First Folio), London: […] Will[iam] Stansby, published 1616, OCLC 960101342, Act IIII, scene vi, page 148:
- [N]ovv he, comes violently on, and vvithall aduancing his rapier to ſtrike, […] Sir, I miſt my purpoſe in his arme, raſht his doublet ſleeue, ran him cloſe by the left cheek, and through his haire.
- (rare) Chiefly followed by out: to scrape or scratch (something); to obliterate.
- ^ “rash(e, adj.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- “rash, adj. and adv.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022; “rash1, adj.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
- ^ “rashe, adv.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “rash, n.4”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022; “rash2, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
- ^ “rash, n.2”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022.
- ^ “rash, n.3”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2018.
- ^ “rashen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ Compare “rash, v.1”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022.
- ^ “arācen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “rash, v.2”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022.
- ^ “† rash, v.3”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2020.
- ^ “rāsen, v.(1)”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- rash (inflamed skin) on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- rash (disambiguation) on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- rash in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911
- rash in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913