- the act or process of cutting spiral grooves in a gun barrel, pipe, etc.
- the system of spiral grooves so cut.
Origin of rifling1
- the act or process of ransacking or robbing.
Origin of rifling2
- 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 rifling
The bullet was a Guedes, with no marks of rifling, and was in no way deformed.Surgical Experiences in South Africa, 1899-1900
George Henry Makins
These other marks were made by the rifling of the barrel a barrel like this one.'Trent's Last Case
E.C. (Edmund Clerihew) Bentley
Showing the machinery for boring and rifling heavy ordnance.Sixty Years a Queen
Sir Herbert Maxwell
"Go on with your task of rifling the traveller's saddle-bags," she said, but made no movement to go.The Mercenary
W. J. Eccott
Then he cut her throat, and leaving her for dead on the bed, 019proceeded with his rifling.Highways and Byways in The Border
- the cutting of spiral grooves on the inside of a firearm's barrel
- the series of grooves so cut
- 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 rifling
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.