Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
1. Abbr. RI or R.I. A state of the northeast United States on the Atlantic Ocean. One of the original Thirteen Colonies, Rhode Island was settled by religious exiles from Massachusetts, including Roger Williams, who founded Providence in 1636. It was granted a royal charter in 1663 and after the American Revolution began the industrialization that is still a major part of the state's economy. Rhode Island ratified the United States Constitution in 1790. Providence is the capital and the largest city.
2. An island of Rhode Island at the entrance to Narragansett Bay. Originally known as Aquidneck Island, it was renamed Rhode Island in 1644, probably after the isle of Rhodes.
Rhode Is′land·er n.