Definition of rye in English:



mass noun
  • 1A cereal plant that tolerates poor soils and low temperatures.

    Secale cereale, family Gramineae

    • ‘Cereals include wheat, rice, barley, oats, rye, maize, millet, and sorghum, all of which have been used as food since prehistoric times, and cultivated since antiquity.’
    • ‘Monotony came from the self-sufficiency of small farms; since bread was the staple food, most farms grew wheat, along with other cereals like rye, oat, buckwheat, maize and barley.’
    • ‘Wheat, barley, rice, rye, oats, millet and corn are the world's top food crops.’
    • ‘Greenbugs feed on a variety of grass crops, including wheat, oats, barley, rye and sorghum.’
    • ‘Avoid barley, corn, oats, rye, and wheat; many people experience congestion, poor digestion, and other symptoms when they eat these grains.’
    • ‘This usually entails lifelong avoidance of all cereals containing gluten, including wheat, oats, rye and barley.’
    • ‘Annual cover crops such as vetch, triticale, rye, winter wheat or Austrian winter peas should be sown in mid-September.’
    • ‘Although the thought of grass conjures up notions of farm food and lawn mowing, cereal grasses such as wheat, barley, oat, rye and kamut are non-toxic and likely the healthiest foods on earth.’
    • ‘The developing grain head on all small grains (winter wheat, rye, triticale, barley) is located just above the highest stem node of the plant.’
    • ‘We know that they grew wheat, rye, oats and barley.’
    1. 1.1Grains of rye, used mainly for making bread or whisky, and for fodder.
      as modifier ‘rye flour’
      • ‘Bread made from rye flour with all the bran removed is pale grey.’
      • ‘The product is whole grain if the first ingredient is whole grain, whole wheat or rye (plain wheat flour is not whole grain).’
      • ‘The basis of the Mordvin economy was cereal agriculture, and the staples of the Mordvin diet were bread made from rye flour, as well as oats and barley.’
      • ‘There is evidence from 4000 BC in the Swiss lake habitations that the people made it from barley and rye flour.’
      • ‘For example, multi-grain bagels, rye crackers, brown rice and oatmeal fuel muscles and protect against cancer, diabetes and heart disease.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the WWI recipe substitutes equal amounts corn and rye flour for wheat products.’
      • ‘In a large bowl, combine the plain white and rye flours with the soda and soft brown sugar.’
      • ‘Look for oatmeal, barley, brown rice, rye flakes and wheat germ.’
      • ‘It certainly lends itself more to toasting than the close-textured rye breads, staple food in much of northern Europe.’
      • ‘But people eat seven-grain bread with wheat and rye in it every day.’
  • 2

    (also rye whisky)
    Whisky in which a significant amount of the grain used in distillation is fermented rye.

    ‘half a bottle of rye’
    • ‘Ruth orders four rounds of quadruple ryes, Faulkner orders four rounds of moonshine.’
    • ‘Spirits such as whisky, bourbon, Cognac, Armagnac and rye derive virtually all their colour from the time they spend in oak barrels - they would be clear as water otherwise.’
    • ‘Heaven Hill markets more than 50 labels of bourbon, rye, scotch, vodka, gin, tequila, rum, cognac, wines and cordials.’
    • ‘Good old boys drink whisky and rye, but what's the tipple of a famous drag queen?’
    • ‘Your four food groups are beer, vodka, rye, and rum.’
    • ‘Freer admitted downing half a bottle of vodka and half a bottle of Canadian rye before the assault.’
    • ‘The coffin was open, and someone had placed a pint bottle of rye and several blues harps next to the late Junior, who lay there looking stately in a powder-blue suit and derby.’
    • ‘If his teammates are to be believed, he was capable of draining a bathtub full of beer and two bottles of rye in a single sitting.’
    • ‘Two bars offer brisk service, and the bartenders will occasionally let you order up to four tiny drinks at a time, with rum, gin, vodka and rye on the menu.’
    • ‘If my memory serves, he had ruined his stomach with rotgut whiskey, and had taken to drinking his rye with milk.’
    • ‘The secret, he tells me, is to use decent bourbon rather than the more traditional rye, and he garnishes the drink with a twist of lemon and a fresh blackberry.’
    • ‘He ordered an Irish coffee and I ordered a shot of rye, straight up.’
  • 3North American

    short for rye bread

    ‘pastrami on rye’
    short for rye bread
    • ‘Sometimes I'll make furtive pilgrimages to the Carnegie Deli to dine on that whopper classic, the hot pastrami on rye.’
    • ‘Before he passed away a few years ago, he gave me his hoard of recipes, including authentic New York cheesecake, bagels, rye, pumpernickel, challah, cole slaw and many others.’
    • ‘Titus was getting almost weepy about this when Patrice limped in with the lunch and spread it out on the marble table: hot pastrami on rye, big pickles, pastries and coffee in white cardboard tubs.’
    • ‘Perfectly preserved, just as the top carried its distinct markings, just like the pattern of pricks in the round loaf of rye at Burgstrom's Bakery.’
    • ‘And earlier this year, New York shops introduced their first menu item not originated in London: that hometown staple, pastrami on rye.’
    • ‘‘Hot pastrami on rye with mustard,’ she screams to the entire deli, although the meat slicer is only a few feet behind her.’
    • ‘We filled up on the requisite minimum daily requirement of pastrami on seeded rye with deli brown mustard.’
    • ‘He kept talking with his mouth full of pastrami and rye.’
    • ‘Jewish delis sell your basic beef (corned beef, roast beef, pastrami) hot on rye.’
    • ‘The pastrami sandwiches on rye with mustard and coleslaw that Daddy brought home from his job didn't delight me like they used to.’
    • ‘I think it's too soon to bake your calling card into a loaf of rye.’
    • ‘And beside every platter of overcooked meat, she placed a golden loaf of seedless rye.’
    • ‘As a heads up, buns and rolls normally go first - Italian bread, most whites - and keep an eye on the rye and pumpernickel.’
    • ‘Preferably on a nice, light rye with spicy mustard and a little horseradish?’


Old English ryge, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch rogge and German Roggen.