rich (adj.)

Old English rice "strong, powerful; great, mighty; of high rank" (senses now obsolete), in later Old English "wealthy;" from Proto-Germanic *rikijaz (source also of Old Norse rikr, Swedish rik, Danish rig, Old Frisian rike "wealthy, mighty," Dutch rijk, Old High German rihhi "ruler, powerful, rich," German reich "rich," Gothic reiks "ruler, powerful, rich"), borrowed from a Celtic source akin to Gaulish *rix, Old Irish ri (genitive rig) "king," from Proto-Celtic *rix, from PIE root *reg- "move in a straight line," with derivatives meaning "to direct in a straight line," thus "to lead, rule" (compare rex).

The form of the word was influenced in Middle English by Old French riche "wealthy, magnificent, sumptuous," which is, with Spanish rico, Italian ricco, from Frankish *riki "powerful," or some other cognate Germanic word. Old English also had a noun, rice "rule, reign, power, might; authority; empire" (compare Reich). The evolution of the word reflects a connection between wealth and power in the ancient world, though the "power" sense seems to be the oldest.

In transferred and extended senses from c. 1200. The meaning "magnificent" is from c. 1200; that of "of great value or worth" is from mid-13c. Of food and colors, "having an abundance of a characteristic quality that pleases the senses," from early 14c.; of sounds, from 1590s; of soils from 1570s. Sense of "entertaining, amusing" is recorded from 1760. The noun meaning "the wealthy" was in Old English.

English once had a related verb rixle "have domination, rule," from Old English rixian "to rule."

updated on September 04, 2021

Definitions of rich from WordNet
rich (adj.)
possessing material wealth;
her father is extremely rich
many fond hopes are pinned on rich uncles
rich (adj.)
having an abundant supply of desirable qualities or substances (especially natural resources);
rich in ideas
rich with cultural interest
blessed with a land rich in minerals
rich (adj.)
of great worth or quality;
a rich collection of antiques
rich (adj.)
marked by great fruitfulness;
rich soil
Synonyms: fat / fertile / productive
rich (adj.)
strong; intense;
a rich red
Synonyms: deep
rich (adj.)
very productive;
rich seams of coal
rich (adj.)
high in mineral content; having a high proportion of fuel to air;
a rich gas mixture
a rich vein of copper
rich (adj.)
suggestive of or characterized by great expense;
a rich display
rich (adj.)
containing plenty of fat, or eggs, or sugar;
they kept gorging on rich foods
rich desserts
rich (adj.)
marked by richness and fullness of flavor;
a rich ruby port
Synonyms: full-bodied / racy / robust
rich (adj.)
pleasantly full and mellow;
a rich tenor voice
rich (adj.)
affording an abundant supply;
a rich supply
Synonyms: ample / copious / plenteous / plentiful
rich (n.)
people who have possessions and wealth (considered as a group);
only the very rich benefit from this legislation
Synonyms: rich people
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.