AskDefine | Define roister

Dictionary Definition

roister v : engage in boisterous, drunken merry-making; "They were out carousing last night" [syn: carouse, riot]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Old French rustre.




  1. To engage in noisy, drunken, or riotous behavior.
  2. To walk with a swaying motion.


Extensive Definition

Ralph Roister Doister is a comic play by Nicholas Udall, generally regarded as the first comedy to be written in the English language.
The date of its composition is disputed, but the balance of opinion suggests that it was written in about 1553, when Udall was a teacher in London, and was intended to be performed by his pupils - who were all male, as were all actors at that period. However, it was not published until 1567, eleven years after its author's death.
The plot of the play centres on a wealthy widow, Christian Custance, who is betrothed to Gawyn Goodluck, a merchant. Ralph Roister Doister is prompted by a friend to woo Christian Custance but his pompous attempts do not succeed. Ralph then tries with his friends to break in and take Christian Custance by force but they are defeated by her servants and run away. The merchant Gawyn arrives shortly after and the play concludes happily.
The play is probably best described as a farce, and owes something to the Latin playwrights, Plautus and Terence. Much like Terence's works, the play also "(displays) an erotics of the letter that simultaneously registers and occludes the 'open secret' of pederastic desire."


Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

bluff, bluster, bluster and bluff, bounce, brag, bully, carouse, celebrate, create a disturbance, create a riot, cut loose, debauch, gasconade, go berserk, hector, hell around, intimidate, jollify, jolly, lark, let go, let loose, let off steam, make a commotion, make an ado, make merry, make trouble, make whoopee, out-herod Herod, rage, raise a ruckus, raise a rumpus, raise a storm, raise hell, rant, rave, revel, riot, roil, rollick, run amok, run riot, run wild, see life, skylark, slang, splutter, spree, sputter, step out, storm, swagger, swashbuckle, vapor, wanton, whoop it up
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1