Usage of:

Scandal-ridden companies, disease-ridden countries, etc.


Debt-laden banks, cynism-laden mindset

In terms of -laden and -ridden context, both have the same meaning, which is ''full of'' something. However, I can't choose which is more appropriate to use accordingly. Are there patterns in how to use them?

  • 1
    Edit suggestion: ladden ==> laden. – Weather Vane Jul 8 '18 at 23:16
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    The latter is -laden not -ladden. And that is neutral, whereas -ridden always has a bad connotation. – Colin Fine Jul 8 '18 at 23:16
  • @ColinFine IMO laden is not neutral. It suggests a burden, as shown by OP's examples. – Weather Vane Jul 8 '18 at 23:19
  • A burden, perhaps, @WeatherVane, but not necessarily something bad. Consider an emotion-laden voice, and a star laden team (both of which I just found in the NOW corpus). – Colin Fine Jul 8 '18 at 23:25
  • @ColinFine I don't see how a "star laden team" is neutral, or even good, but in suggesting that it is good or bad, do you agree that it is not neutral? Since when is a burden good, unless on a spiritual quest which might make it ultimately so? – Weather Vane Jul 8 '18 at 23:27



1 : harassed, oppressed, or obsessed by —usually used in combination · guilt-ridden · debt-ridden

2 : excessively full of or supplied with —usually used in combination · slum-ridden

The first sense of ridden is negative, while the second sense simply means excessively full.



: carrying a load or burden

This word only has a single sense given, and it doesn't have the same necessarily implication of excessiveness.

Laden, when used as a compound adjective, can be associated with negative things, but it's meant more as an intensifier than a negative in its own right.

For example:

At that time, the high-priced, veteran-laden Tigers saw the writing on the wall.

There is little negative about veterans, so it just means that there are a lot of them.

Or, to make up some sentences of my own:

It was a promise-laden job.
The child had hope-laden dreams.

Unlike ridden, laden is also used in a different, and more neutral way when not combined into a compound adjective:

heavily ladened with equipment
laden a ship with emergency medical supplies
The truck was laden with gravel.

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