rustic (adj.)

mid-15c., rustik, "associated with the country, rural," from Latin rusticus "of the country, rural; country-like, plain, simple, rough, coarse, awkward," from rus (genitive ruris) "open land, country" (see rural).

From 1580s, of persons, "having the look and manner of country folk, wanting refinement." By 1590s of rude or undressed workmanship. By c. 1600 as "plain and simple, having the charm of the country."

The noun meaning "a country person, peasant" is from 1550s (also in classical Latin). Related: Rustical "living in the country," early 15c., rusticalle, from Medieval Latin rusticalis.

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rusty (adj.)

"covered or affected with rust, rusted," Old English rustig; see rust (n.) + -y (2). Cognate with Frisian roastich, Middle Dutch roestich, Dutch roestig, Old High German rostag, German rostig.

"In the 16th and 17th centuries frequently used as a term of general disparagement" [OED]. In plant an animal names, "having the color of rust." Of bodily skills, "impaired by neglect," from c. 1500; extended to mental qualities, learning, skills, accomplishments, etc., by 1796. Related: Rustily; rustiness.

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Russian (n.)

"native or citizen of Russia," 1530s, from Medieval Latin Russianus, from Russia (see Russia). Slang or colloquial or slang Russki, Ruski "Russian" (by 1858) is from Russian Russkiy. Russian roulette attested from 1937. Russian dressing for salads is from 1915. The expression scratch a Russian, find a Tatar, frequent from 1842 and conventional wisdom on the topic, might be from a French original.

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rusticate (v.)

1650s, "to go or retire into the country, live a country life," from Latin rusticatus, past participle of rusticarti "to live in the country," from rusticus (see rustic). In English university slang 18c.-19c., transitive, "to suspend (a student) from studies for a time and send away as punishment." Related: Rusticated; rusticating.

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ruse (n.)

early 15c., "the dodging movements of a hunted animal" (a sense now obsolete); 1620s as "a trick, a stratagem, an artifice," from Old French ruse, reuse "diversion, switch in flight; trick, jest" (14c.), a noun from reuser "to dodge, repel, retreat; deceive, cheat," which is from Latin recusare "make an objection against; decline, refuse, reject; be reluctant to" (see recuse; also compare rush (v.)).

It also has been proposed that the French word may be from Latin rursus "backwards," or a Vulgar Latin form of refusare. Johnson calls it, "A French word neither elegant nor necessary."

The verb ruse was in Middle English (rusen), mid-14c. as "drive (someone) back in battle," also "retreat, give ground, withdraw;" late 14c., of game animals "travel so as to elude pursuit." The noun also was used in Middle English in the sense of "roundabout course taken by a hunter in pursuit of prey."

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rustle (v.)

"to emit soft, rapid sounds when in motion," late 14c. (implied in rustling "moving about noisily"), a word of uncertain origin, perhaps imitative (compare Middle Low German ruschen, Middle Dutch ruusscen, German rauschen "to rustle"). Related: Rustled; rustling.

The meaning "steal" (especially cattle) is attested by 1882, and is probably from earlier Western U.S. slang rustle "make, do, secure, etc. in a vigorous way" (1844), which is perhaps a separate word, compounded from rush and hustle. Compare sense developments in bustle (v.), hustle (v.), and compare rustler. To rustle up (transitive) in the general sense of "gather up, round up" is by 1896. 

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rustler (n.)

1820, "one who or that which rustles" (a leaf, a bird), agent noun from rustle (v.). The American English meaning "cattle thief" is by 1882; earlier it meant "active, efficient person" (1872).

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rush (n.1)

"plant growing in marshy ground," having leaves that grow as stiff pithy or hollow stalks, Middle English rishe, resh, rosh, rush, etc., from Old English resc (Kentish), risc, rysc, from Proto-Germanic *rusk- (source also of Middle Low German rusch, Middle High German rusch, German Rausch, West Frisian risk, Dutch rusch), perhaps from PIE *rezg- "to plait, weave, wind" (source also of Latin restis "cord, rope"). Old French rusche probably is from a Germanic source.

The remarkable variations in the vowel of this word make its precise history far from clear. [OED]

The stalks were cut and used for various purposes, including making torches and finger rings; they also were strewn on floors as covering or when visitors arrived; it was attested a type of something weak or of no value by early 14c.

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russet (n.)

mid-13c., "coarse, woolen cloth," usually of a subdued reddish-brown color; also (early 15c.) the color of this; from Old French rousset, from rosset (adj.) "reddish," diminutive of ros, rous "red," from Latin russus, which is related to ruber "red" (from PIE root *reudh- "red, ruddy").

As an adjective, "reddish," from late 14c. The name continued even when the cloth color was brown or gray. The coarse, homespun cloth also was indicative of rustic homely, simple persons or qualities (by 1580s). The adjective was applied to a type of apples by 1620s; as the name of a variety of eating apple by 1708; as a type of pear by 1725.

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rust (n.)

"red oxide of iron, red coating which forms on the surface of iron exposed to the air," Old English rust "rust," in late Old English also figurative, "anything tending to spiritual corrosion, a moral canker," related to rudu "redness," from Proto-Germanic *rusta- (source also of Frisian rust, Old High German and German rost, Middle Dutch ro(e)st), from PIE *reudh-s-to- (source also of Lithuanian rustas "brownish," rūdėti "to rust;" Latin robigo, Old Church Slavonic ruzda "rust"), from suffixed form of root *reudh- "red, ruddy."

As a morbid condition of plants caused by fungal growth, from mid-14c. U.S. colloquial rust-bucket for "old car or boat" is by 1945. Rust Belt "decayed urban industrial areas of mid-central U.S." (1984) was popularized in, if not coined by, Walter Mondale's presidential campaign.

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