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[raf-uh l] /ˈræf əl/
a form of lottery in which a number of persons buy one or more chances to win a prize.
verb (used with object), raffled, raffling.
to dispose of by a raffle (often followed by off):
to raffle off a watch.
verb (used without object), raffled, raffling.
to take part in a raffle.
Origin of raffle1
1350-1400; Middle English rafle dice game < Middle French, derivative of rafler to snatch; cf. raff
Related forms
raffler, noun
unraffled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for raffling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A game similar to raffling, arrowheads being used as counters.

  • But even though he marked it down to a dime, none would buy, so he announced his intention of raffling it off.

    Tom Slade Percy K. Fitzhugh
  • I've often taken as much as a pound's worth of tickets for a five-pound note that some priest was raffling in aid of a new chapel.

    Hyacinth George A. Birmingham
  • The “raffling,” combined with the “rum”—which was now also meted out—produced for some time a noisy excitement.

    Ran Away to Sea Mayne Reid
  • This game was devised to take the place of raffling, which was voted out of date.

    Bright Ideas for Entertaining Mrs. Herbert B. Linscott
  • Fairs for the founding of hospitals, schools and churches, conducted on the raffling system, come under the same denomination.

    The Abominations of Modern Society Rev. T. De Witt Talmage
British Dictionary definitions for raffling


  1. a lottery in which the prizes are goods rather than money
  2. (as modifier): a raffle ticket
(transitive) often foll by off. to dispose of (goods) in a raffle
Derived Forms
raffler, noun
Word Origin
C14 (a dice game): from Old French, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for raffling



late 14c., "dice game," from Old French rafle "dice game," also "plundering," perhaps from a Germanic source (cf. Middle Dutch raffel "dice game," Old Frisian hreppa "to move," Old Norse hreppa "to reach, get," Swedish rafs "rubbish," Old High German raspon "to scrape together, snatch up in haste," German raffen "to snatch away, sweep off"), from Proto-Germanic *khrap- "to pluck out, snatch off." The notion would be "to sweep up (the stakes), to snatch (the winnings)." Dietz connects the French word with the Germanic root, but OED is against this. Meaning "sale of chances" first recorded 1766.



"dispose of by raffle," 1851, from raffle (n.). Related: Raffled; raffling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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