- a question or statement so framed as to exercise one's ingenuity in answering it or discovering its meaning; conundrum.
- a puzzling question, problem, or matter.
- a puzzling thing or person.
- any enigmatic or dark saying or speech.
- to propound riddles; speak enigmatically.
Origin of riddle1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- to pierce with many holes, suggesting those of a sieve: to riddle the target.
- to fill or affect with (something undesirable, weakening, etc.): a government riddled with graft.
- to impair or refute completely by persistent verbal attacks: to riddle a person's reputation.
- to sift through a riddle, as gravel; screen.
- a coarse sieve, as one for sifting sand in a foundry.
Origin of riddle2
Examples from the Web for riddled
“Mainstream feminism is riddled with classism, racism, and sexual orientation discrimination,” she wrote.Will White Feminists Finally Dump Lena Dunham?
November 4, 2014
Her body, riddled with bullets, was found on the side of the road in the neighboring republic of Ingushetia.The Kremlin’s Plan to Erase Russia’s Memory and Its Conscience
October 13, 2014
But for a man who delighted in exposing hypocrisies, his relationship to Communism was riddled with duplicity.Brecht's Mercenary Mother Courage Turns 75
September 10, 2014
Instead it details how the Boeing 777 was riddled with holes created by “a large number of high energy objects from the outside.”MH17 Switched Places With Another Jet
September 9, 2014
Does the raucous, N-word riddled hip-hop spectacular live up to the hype?The Tupac Musical Hits Broadway: Kenny Leon’s ‘Holler If Ya Hear Me’ Is Crazy, Silly Fun
June 19, 2014
The meteors that riddled the ship were projectiles shot from their station on Jupiter.Pirates of the Gorm
The bullet and the moth have torn And riddled well the dolmans dim.Enamels and Cameos and other Poems
He could not possibly have escaped with his life, Blake said; he must have been riddled with bullets.Whispering Smith
Frank H. Spearman
Had I obeyed my own impulse, I should have been riddled like any colander.Recollections
David Christie Murray
Washington's clothes had been riddled by bullets, but he had escaped injury.Canada: the Empire of the North
Agnes C. Laut
- a question, puzzle, or verse so phrased that ingenuity is required for elucidation of the answer or meaning; conundrum
- a person or thing that puzzles, perplexes, or confuses; enigma
- to solve, explain, or interpret (a riddle or riddles)
- (intr) to speak in riddles
- (usually foll by with) to pierce or perforate with numerous holesriddled with bullets
- to damage or impair
- to put through a sieve; sift
- to fill or pervadethe report was riddled with errors
- a sieve, esp a coarse one used for sand, grain, etc
Word Origin and History for riddled
"A word game or joke, comprising a question or statement couched in deliberately puzzling terms, propounded for solving by the hearer/reader using clues embedded within that wording" [Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore], early 13c., from Old English rædels "riddle; counsel; conjecture; imagination; discussion," common Germanic (cf. Old Frisian riedsal "riddle," Old Saxon radisli, Middle Dutch raetsel, Dutch raadsel, Old High German radisle, German Rätsel "riddle").
The first element is from Proto-Germanic *redaz-, from PIE *re-dh-, from PIE *re(1)- "to reason, count" (cf. Old English rædan "to advise, counsel, read, guess;" see read (v.)). The ending is Old English noun suffix -els, the -s of which later was mistaken for a plural affix and stripped off. Meaning "anything which puzzles or perplexes" is from late 14c.
"perforate with many holes," 1817 (implied in riddled), earlier "sift" (early 13c.), from Middle English ridelle "coarse sieve," from late Old English hriddel "sieve," altered by dissimilation from Old English hridder "sieve" (see riddle (n.2)).
"to pose as a riddle," 1570s, from riddle (n.1). Related: Riddled; riddler; riddling.
"coarse sieve," mid-14c., alteration of late Old English hriddel, dissimilated from hridder, from Proto-Germanic *hrida- (cf. German Reiter), from PIE root *krei- "to sieve," and thus related to Latin cribrum "sieve, riddle," Greek krinein "to separate, distinguish, decide" (see crisis).