a deep notch formed in or near one edge of a board, framing timber, etc., so that something else can be fitted into it or so that a door or the like can be closed against it.
a broad groove let into the surface of a board or the like; dado.

verb (used with object), rab·bet·ed, rab·bet·ing.

to cut a rabbet in (a board or the like).
to join (boards or the like) by means of a rabbet or rabbets.

verb (used without object), rab·bet·ed, rab·bet·ing.

to join by a rabbet (usually followed by on or over).

Also rebate.

Origin of rabbet

1350–1400; Middle English rabet < Old French rabat, derivative of rabattre to beat back, beat down; see rebate1
Related formsun·rab·bet·ed, adjective
Can be confusedrabbet rabbit rarebit rebate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rabbet

Historical Examples of rabbet

  • Set the fence and the stop at the desired width and depth of the rabbet.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes

  • In an end-lap joint on rabbeted pieces the joint must be adapted to the rabbet.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes

  • The rabbet should therefore be plowed before the joint is made.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes

  • It also fits into a rabbet on the upper back side of the shelf.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes

  • The sinking a rabbet in the dead-wood, wherein the heels of the timbers rest.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

British Dictionary definitions for rabbet




a recess, groove, or step, usually of rectangular section, cut into a surface or along the edge of a piece of timber to receive a mating piece
a joint made between two pieces of timber using a rabbet

verb (tr)

to cut or form a rabbet in (timber)
to join (pieces of timber) using a rabbet

Word Origin for rabbet

C15: from Old French rabattre to beat down
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

Word Origin and History for rabbet

"rectangular groove cut out of the edge of a piece of wood or stone so that it may join by lapping with others," late 14c., from Old French rabat "a recess in a wall, a lower section," literally "a beating down," a back-formation from rabattre "to beat down, beat back" (see rebate (v.)). The verb is attested from mid-15c. (implied in rabetynge).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper