- a shoulder firearm with spiral grooves cut in the inner surface of the gun barrel to give the bullet a rotatory motion and thus a more precise trajectory.
- one of the grooves.
- a cannon with such grooves.
- (often initial capital letter) rifles, any of certain military units or bodies equipped with rifles.
- to cut spiral grooves within (a gun barrel, pipe, etc.).
- to propel (a ball) at high speed, as by throwing or hitting with a bat.
Origin of rifle1
- to ransack and rob (a place, receptacle, etc.).
- to search and rob (a person).
- to plunder or strip bare.
- to steal or take away.
Origin of rifle2
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for rifle
My rifle was in my shoulder in that familiar and powerful position.
I crossed the room with my rifle up, stood on top of the bed, and from my perch looked down at bin Laden.
At one point McShane stopped suddenly, and pointed to what looked like a rifle protruding from a window.Honoring The Late John Doar, A Nearly Forgotten Hero Of The Civil Rights Era
November 15, 2014
In the Korean War, they took six weeks to train them how to use a rifle and then sent them off to war.McCain’s 13 Favorite Soldiers
November 11, 2014
Acts of violence include death by hanging, rifle butt, boot heel, tank tracks and fireball.‘Fury’: A Ludicrous WWII Movie More Violent Than ‘Inglourious Basterds’
October 20, 2014
Ten emus came to water; shot twice with rifle at them, but missed.Explorations in Australia
Looking back, Andy saw a rifle pitch to the shoulder of the deputy.
He could follow his target as though a magnetic power attracted his rifle.
Andrew sat in the dark, hurriedly going over his rifle and his revolver.
Then, hardly looking at his target, he snapped his rifle back to his shoulder and fired.
- a firearm having a long barrel with a spirally grooved interior, which imparts to the bullet spinning motion and thus greater accuracy over a longer range
- (as modifier)rifle fire
- (formerly) a large cannon with a rifled bore
- one of the grooves in a rifled bore
- a unit of soldiers equipped with rifles
- (capital when part of a name)the Rifle Brigade
- to cut or mould spiral grooves inside the barrel of (a gun)
- to throw or hit (a ball) with great speed
- to search (a house, safe, etc) and steal from it; ransack
- to steal and carry offto rifle goods from a shop
Word Origin and History for rifle
1775, "portable firearm having a spirally grooved bore," used earlier of the grooves themselves (1751), noun use of rifled (pistol), 1680s, from verb meaning "to cut spiral grooves in" (a gun barrel); see rifle (v.2).
"to plunder," early 14c. (implied in rifling), from Old French rifler "strip, filch, plunder, peel off (skin or bark), fleece," literally "to graze, scratch" (12c.), probably from a Germanic source (cf. Old English geriflian "to wrinkle," Old High German riffilon "to tear by rubbing," Old Norse rifa "to tear, break"). Related: Rifled; rifling.
"to cut spiral grooves in" (a gun barrel), 1630s, probably from French rifler, from Old French rifler "to scratch or groove" (see rifle (v.1)). Related: Rifled; rifling.