In rude health or in ruddy health 十分健康


Reader question:

Is the economy in "rude health" or in "ruddy health"?

My comments:

Both are okay, the former being formal and idiomatic, the latter having its merits at face value.

The way I learned it, the economy is always in rude health because "in rude health" is a set phrase or set expression. You're not supposed to replace any word in the phrase with another.

However, ruddy health makes literal sense, ruddy pointing to the reddish face of a healthy person, such as a ruddy American farmer.

More people use "rude health" than "rudder health". A search via Bing confirms this, more than 300,000 items in "rude health" vs. 38,000 articles containing "ruddy health".

"Rude health" doesn't make sense at first sight, does it? I think "rude" here obliquely refers to the vigor and swagger of a healthy person. Some people are healthy and they look it and act like it. You know, such a person is full of muscle and bustle, walking fast and briskly, able to easily brush off other passersby in a crowded street. Yes, such a person is full of energy and may indeed appear rude, as in imposing and impolite, to those who are feeble and slow and who find it quite difficult to secure elbow room in a crowd.

I'm being speculative. Just remember, though, the set and proper phrase is "rude health". But "ruddy health" also works - especially in America and Australia, where there is much more sunshine and therefore are many more ruddy faces than to be found readily in the old country.

The old country is, of course, Britain, where "rude health" finds its roots and origin.

No more fuss. Here are examples of both "rude health" and "ruddy health in the media":

1. App analytics company Flurry, which measures monthly usage on more than a billion active smart mobile devices, has taken a look at how U.S. consumers are splitting their time between mobile apps and browsers. The company found the iOS and Android app economy is in rude health: with consumers spending 80% of the average two hours and 38 minutes per day that they use smartphones and tablets spent inside apps, while only a fifth of that time (20% — or 31 minutes) is spent using mobile web browsers.

When it comes to app categories, games take a big bite out of consumers’ mobile device time — with around a third (32%) of daily average usage spent flinging fowl or similar. Facebook was the next biggest time-sink, cutting itself an 18% daily usage slice. Add in a further 6% of time spent on other social network services and activity within social media apps accounts for almost a quarter of the average user’s mobile day, according to Flurry’s data.

But it’s not just social networking that is driving Facebook app usage. Flurry CEO Simon Khalaf speculates that the large proportion of time spent inside the Facebook app is down to users viewing web content from inside Zuckerberg’s walled garden. He notes: “We can assert that Facebook has become the most adopted browser in terms of consumer time spent” — and goes on to add that mobile has “become Facebook’s biggest opportunity”, with consumers spending almost 39 minutes per day using the Facebook app on average.

- The App Economy Is In Rude Health, Says Flurry, But Mobile Browsers Are Being Squeezed By Facebook,, April 3, 2013.

2. Consumer confidence slipped from an 18-year peak in November, the first such decline in five months. Fresh data from the Conference Board reveals that the outlook for business conditions has dulled. Respondents are also unsure about how fast their income will grow next year.

However, the index remains at an appreciably high level. Further, consumers are confident that economic expansion will continue in 2019. Significantly, the confidence in the job market remains undimmed, with unemployment at a near 50-year low.

Notably, consumer spending makes up nearly 70% of U.S. GDP. And despite the slight decline in confidence, American consumers remain an upbeat lot. This is why it makes sense to invest in consumer discretionary stocks heading into the New Year.

Outlook for Future Business Conditions Declines

The Consumer Confidence index declined from 137.9 in October to 135.7 in November. However, it still came in above the estimated level of 135.4. The Present Situation Index, which gauges consumers’ views about current market conditions, inched upward from 171.9 to 172.7.

This measure of the current state of the economy is only marginally lower than its highest level in 18 years. However, the Expectations Index, which is a measure of the short-term outlook, declined from 115.1 to 111.0.

Per Lynn Franco of the Conference Board, this was “primarily due to a less optimistic view of future business conditions and personal income prospects.” Analysts believe that this is a reflection of the recent stock market turbulence and concerns about trade conflicts and rising interest rates.

Robust Labor Market Fuels Consumer Resilience

The need to closely monitor consumer sentiment stems from the fact that consumer expenditure makes up nearly two-thirds of U.S. GDP. Currently, consumer spending is in ruddy health, increasing at a 4% annual pace from July to September, the fastest pace since late 2014.

Robust consumer spending is in turn fueled by a strong labor market. Currently, the unemployment rate is near a 50-year low of 3.7%. This is exactly why the number of respondents, who believe jobs are “plentiful” increased from 45.4% to 46.6%, the largest share since January 2001.

According to Franco, “consumers are still quite confident that economic growth will continue at a solid pace into early 2019.” Analysts believe that despite a small slip in confidence and a recognition that economic growth may be slowing, consumers remain upbeat. The resilience in consumer spending is the best indicator of their confidence.

- Consumer Confidence Falls But Remains Robust,, November 28, 2018.

3. It's hard not to love Chardonnay – the grape that is virtually synonymous with the phrase "white wine" – so how good are the very best ones? And, more importantly, which ones are the very best?

Well, as we head towards the end of the year and the holiday season, it's time to take a serious look at the best wines we list – or at least the ones with the highest scores and where better to start than with everyone's favorite white, Chardonnay?

We all know that ranking wine is a tough business – not least because of the subjective element of tasting wine – but there are some wines that are generally agreed to be better than others. Now whether this is simply because we have always been told by wine experts, critics and "educators" – who have often simply digested the same prejudices as the previous generation of experts, and so on ad infinitum – or because the wines are objectively, demonstrably better is a debate for another day.

However, the reality we find ourselves with is that some wines are put on pedestals and worshipped by the masses, while others are not, so we'd best just get used to it and work with what we have. At Wine-Searcher, as well as listing an astonishing array of wine prices, we add together the wine scores we collect and work out an aggregate score.


Overall, it seems Chardonnay is in rude health, certainly at the top level. While the supermarket shelves might be flooded with innumerable brands of strictly variable quality (although there are some real gems among them too, in fairness), it's good to see competition at the highest level.

If nothing else, it proves that you don't necessarily need 200 years of history to make great wine.

- The World's Best Chardonnays,, October 24, 2019.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at:, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)

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