Etymology: Middle English riche, from Old English rīce; akin to Old High German rīhhi rich, Old English rīce kingdom, Old High German rīhhi, noun; all from prehistoric Germanic words borrowed from Celtic words akin to Old Irish rí (genitive ríg) king — more at royal
Date: before 12th century
1. having abundant possessions and especially material wealth
a. having high value or quality
b. well supplied or endowed <a city rich in traditions> 3. magnificently impressive ; sumptuous 4. a. vivid and deep in color <a rich red> b. full and mellow in tone and quality <a rich voice> c. having a strong fragrance <rich perfumes> 5. highly productive or remunerative <a rich mine> 6. a. having abundant plant nutrients <rich soil> b. highly seasoned, fatty, oily, or sweet <rich foods> c. high in the combustible component <a rich fuel mixture> d. high in some component <cholesterol-rich foods> 7. a. entertaining; also laughable b. meaningful, significant <rich allusions> c. lush <rich meadows> 8. pure or nearly pure <rich lime> • richness noun Synonyms: rich, wealthy, affluent, opulent mean having goods, property, and money in abundance. rich implies having more than enough to gratify normal needs or desires <became rich through shrewd investing>. wealthy stresses the possession of property and intrinsically valuable things <wealthy landowners>. affluent suggests prosperity and an increasing wealth <an affluent society>. opulent suggests lavish expenditure and display of great wealth, more often applying to things than people <an opulent mansion>.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.