- rich (adj.)
- Old English rice "wealthy, powerful, mighty," from Proto-Germanic *rikijaz (cf. Old Norse rikr, Old High German rihhi "ruler, powerful, rich," Old Frisian rike, Dutch rijk, German reich "rich," Gothic reiks "ruler, powerful, rich"), borrowed from a Celtic source akin to Gaulish *rix, Old Irish ri (genitive rig) "king," from PIE root *reg- "move in a straight line," hence, "direct, rule" (see rex).
The form of the word influenced in Middle English by Old French riche "wealthy," from Frankish *riki "powerful," or some other cognate Germanic source. The evolution of the word reflects a connection between wealth and power in the ancient world. Of food and colors, from early 14c.; of sounds, from 1590s. Sense of "entertaining, amusing" is recorded from 1760. The noun meaning "the wealthy" was in Old English.