The Old Norse form of the name was Ringabú or Hringabú. The first element is probably derived from ringr which means "ring" (but in what context is unknown). The last element is bú which means "rural district".
The coat-of-arms is from modern times. They were granted in 1992. The arms show three orange flames on a red background. This represents the three valleys and three parishes of Ringebu, Fåvang, and Venabygd. Fire was chosen to represent mankind's need for heat and light.
The administrative center of Ringebu municipality is the village of Vålebru which is located at an elevation of 182 metres (597 ft) above sea level, but 50% of the area within the municipal borders is greater than 900 metres (3,000 ft) above sea level. From Ringebu, two mountain passes provide road access into the Østerdal; one of these is closed during the winter. Because these mountain areas reliably provide good snow conditions, the area is a popular tourist destination. Kvitfjell ski area in Ringebu was expanded to serve as a downhill venue for the 1994 Winter Olympics.