Robust Meaning: Here’s What it Means and How to Use It

The word robust has several definitions and a fascinating origin story. Read here to learn about the meaning of robust and how to use it correctly.

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

There are so many words with a variety of meanings and definitions. When you encounter these words without a full understanding of all their definitions, you might be missing the real meaning of what somebody else is saying. Just as bad, you might be improperly conveying what you meant to say. 

There are several different definitions to the somewhat common word “robust” that all differ only slightly in their definitions. By understanding them, we can ensure better language, speech, and writing. With that in mind, here is a complete guide to the word robust, its definitions, its etymology, and more. 

What Are the Meanings of Robust?

As mentioned above, there are several different definitions for the word robust. With each definition, you can see how the word’s meaning has expanded over time and begun to apply to different objects, ideas, or scenarios. Here are the definitions of robust, pronounced roʊˈbʌst according to the dictionary. 

  • Having physical strength or health
  • Strength or vigor, mostly referring to an idea that is well thought out
  • Talking about strength and resilience, something that can perform well under a wide range of conditions thanks to its strong construction
  • Requiring strength, perhaps referring to a job or task
  • Full-bodied, mostly referring to the taste of food or beverage 
  • Relating to a specialized group of vegetarian australopithecines characterized especially by heavy molars and small incisors 

As you can see, there are many definitions for robust that apply to multiple scenarios. Some definitions are much different than others, but it’s important to understand each one. 

What Is the Etymology of the Word Robust?

The history of the word robust and how it came about is incredibly interesting. The term has undergone several changes over the course of history, but its meanings have stayed relatively similar throughout the centuries. 

Robust first shows up in the 15th and 16th centuries in its current English form. In its early English form, the word was used to refer to people with great muscular and physical strength. This form was derived from the French word robuste. 

But the origins of this word predate that. It gets its roots from the Latin robustus, which means “strong and hearty, strong as oak.” By invoking the image of a sturdy oak tree, one could convey the strength and unmovingness of a person or object. 

The Latin word robustus finds its roots in robur and robus. The robur oak is a special kind of hard, strong, red heartwood. So this image implies that the person has an oaken level of strength.

In English, the word has grown to describe more than just people. Now, ideas and abstract things can also have a robust quality. Food can have a robust flavor. Structures can have robust architecture that strongly stands the test of time. The word is even used in the names of particular species, like the robust australopithecines. The word robust, in this case, is referencing the large chewing muscles and bigger jawbones this australopithecines had compared to others. 

Examples of Robust in Context

To help convey a better picture of the meanings of robust, here are some example sentences that utilize the term:

The lumberjack’s robust body, rippling with muscle, supported the tree’s weight like it was nothing.

The runner’s robust leg muscles propelled him forward at great speeds.

My robust health makes it so that I barely ever get sick.

The priest’s robust faith had encouraged him throughout his five decades in service.

This problem could get out of hand, so we must take a robust approach to solving it.

This was such a robust debate that it’s hard to say who won it. 

Tolkien tells a robust tale with his incredible world building skills, complete with languages, maps, and more.

We peeled the wood paneling back on the random house, evincing the robust foundation underneath.

The small stool was robust enough to hold the weight of Santa Claus for hours.

The United States has an incredibly robust economy tht can withstand any recession.

Construction is pretty robust work. Are you sure you’re cut out for it?

Rugby is an incredibly robust sport, requiring both brute strength and speed.

The coffee’s robust flavor awakens my senses every morning and helps me start my day.

The chocolate cake was rich, full-bodied, and robust. 

The discovery of the robust australopithecines gave scientists a more clear understanding of the evolutionary timeline.

Robust in a Thesaurus

Knowing the synonyms and antonyms of robust can also help paint a clearer picture of this word’s meaning.


  • Able-bodied 
  • Hearty
  • Fit
  • Sound
  • Well-conditioned 
  • Whole


  • Ailing
  • Unfit
  • Unhealthy
  • Unsound

Other Forms of Robust

Robust has forms other than the adjective. Its adverb form is robustly, describing an action as sturdy or strong. It can also be turned into the noun robustness, attributed to a person, object, or idea. 

A Robust Conclusion

The word robust denotes strength and sturdiness. It helps to describe something that can stand under pressure and carry forward with fortitude. The word’s interesting history preserves its definition from the original meaning, making robust a bit of a rare breed. 

Now you know how to use the word robust correctly in all its forms. Go and utilize it in your speech and your writing to properly convey what you want to say, and if you need a refresher, come back to this article for more helpful information.  


  1. 9.5: The Genus Australopithecus | Social Sci LibreTexts
  2. Robust Definition & Meaning | Britannica Dictionary
  3. Robust Definition & Meaning |