• synonyms


See more synonyms for rabbet on Thesaurus.com
  1. 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.
  2. a broad groove let into the surface of a board or the like; dado.
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verb (used with object), rab·bet·ed, rab·bet·ing.
  1. to cut a rabbet in (a board or the like).
  2. to join (boards or the like) by means of a rabbet or rabbets.
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verb (used without object), rab·bet·ed, rab·bet·ing.
  1. to join by a rabbet (usually followed by on or over).
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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. 2018

Examples from the Web for rabbeting

Historical Examples

  • Also, without the rabbeting water may get under the cap, and pass along the top till a hole lets it among the bees.

    Mysteries of Bee-keeping Explained

    M. Quinby

  • Fillister, fil′is-ter, n. a rabbeting plane used in making window-sashes.

  • For rabbeting and fillister work the upper holes q are used, while using ploughs the lower ones are brought into requisition.

  • In place of matching heads, heads for beading, rabbeting, or fancy siding may then be used.

  • This method does away with the use of the rabbeting plane and miter box, both of which are difficult to use with accuracy.

British Dictionary definitions for rabbeting



  1. 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
  2. a joint made between two pieces of timber using a rabbet
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verb (tr)
  1. to cut or form a rabbet in (timber)
  2. to join (pieces of timber) using a rabbet
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Word Origin

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 rabbeting



"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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

rabbeting in Medicine


  1. The making of congruous stepwise cuts on apposing bone surfaces for firmly holding together a fractured bone.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.