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[rif-uh l] /ˈrɪf əl/
verb (used with or without object), riffled, riffling.
to turn hastily; flutter and shift:
to riffle a stack of letters; to riffle through a book.
Cards. to shuffle by dividing the deck in two, raising the corners slightly, and allowing them to fall alternately together.
to cause or become a riffle.
a rapid, as in a stream.
a ripple, as upon the surface of water.
Mining. the lining of transverse bars or slats on the bed of a sluice, arranged so as to catch heavy minerals, as gold or platinum.
a hopper for distributing bulk material.
the act or method of riffling cards.
Origin of riffle
1630-40; blend of ripple1 and ruffle1
Related forms
unriffled, adjective
Can be confused
riffle, rifle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for riffle
Historical Examples
  • Then I saw a fire over here, and just managed to make the riffle.

  • "I'll back my boys to make the riffle," confidently asserted Roque.

  • At the bottom of each ledge is a riffle to arrest the particles of gold.

    Getting Gold J. C. F. Johnson
  • In the third riffle, seven cards have to be held up, and in the fourth, ten.

    Sharps and Flats John Nevil Maskelyne
  • riffle—A groove or strip to catch gold and mercury in a sluice.

    The A B C of Mining Charles A. Bramble
  • I'll go in just below the riffle and explore the cellar-hole!

    The Hero of Manila Rossiter Johnson
  • Only too often, in fact, it will be drawn in despite every effort to avoid the riffle.

    Down the Yellowstone Lewis R. Freeman
  • One can drift a riffle stern first that is too rough to ride any other way.

    Down the Yellowstone Lewis R. Freeman
  • We had to cross a rapid river at a riffle where the motor-cars were just able to make it.

  • We took my remuda, the spades and axes, and started for the riffle.

    The Outlet Andy Adams
British Dictionary definitions for riffle


when intr, often foll by through. to flick rapidly through (the pages of a book, magazine, etc), esp in a desultory manner
to shuffle (playing cards) by halving the pack and flicking the adjacent corners together
to make or become a riffle
(US & Canadian)
  1. a rapid in a stream
  2. a rocky shoal causing a rapid
  3. a ripple on water
(mining) a contrivance on the bottom of a sluice, containing transverse grooves for trapping particles of gold
the act or an instance of riffling
Word Origin
C18: probably from ruffle1, influenced by ripple1
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 riffle

1754, "to make choppy water," American English, perhaps a variant of ruffle "make rough." The word meaning "shuffle" (cards) is first recorded 1894, probably echoic; hence that of "skim, leaf through quickly" (of papers, etc.) is from 1922. Related: Riffled; riffling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for riffle

riffle 1


A hard swing at the ball; ripple: gives it a really good solid riffle

[1932+ Baseball; probably fr ripple fr rip]

riffle 2


: Give that deck a good riffle


To shuffle playing cards (1894+ Cardplaying)

[probably echoic]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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