• 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

Related Words for rabbeting

shave, slice, rip, slash, carve, curtail, divide, pink, depress, cut, dent, serrate, mark, hollow, nick, score, bash, dint, jag, notch

Examples from the Web for rabbeting

Historical Examples of rabbeting

  • 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 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 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.