riddle

1
[ rid-l ]
/ ˈrɪd l /

noun

a question or statement so framed as to exercise one's ingenuity in answering it or discovering its meaning; conundrum.
a puzzling question, problem, or matter.
a puzzling thing or person.
any enigmatic or dark saying or speech.

verb (used without object), rid·dled, rid·dling.

to propound riddles; speak enigmatically.

Origin of riddle

1
before 1000; Middle English redel, redels (noun), Old English rǣdels(e) counsel, opinion, imagination, riddle (rǣd(an) to counsel, rede + -els(e) deverbal noun suffix) with loss of -s- in ME through confusion with the plural form of the noun suffix -el -le (cf. burial); cognate with German Rätsel, Dutch raadsel

Definition for riddle (2 of 2)

riddle

2
[ rid-l ]
/ ˈrɪd l /

verb (used with object), rid·dled, rid·dling.

to pierce with many holes, suggesting those of a sieve: to riddle the target.
to fill or affect with (something undesirable, weakening, etc.): a government riddled with graft.
to impair or refute completely by persistent verbal attacks: to riddle a person's reputation.
to sift through a riddle, as gravel; screen.

noun

a coarse sieve, as one for sifting sand in a foundry.

Origin of riddle

2
before 1100; (noun) Middle English riddil, Old English hriddel, variant of hridder, hrīder; cognate with German Reiter; akin to Latin crībrum sieve; (v.) Middle English ridlen to sift, derivative of the noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for riddle

British Dictionary definitions for riddle (1 of 2)

riddle

1
/ (ˈrɪdəl) /

noun

a question, puzzle, or verse so phrased that ingenuity is required for elucidation of the answer or meaning; conundrum
a person or thing that puzzles, perplexes, or confuses; enigma

verb

to solve, explain, or interpret (a riddle or riddles)
(intr) to speak in riddles

Derived Forms

riddler, noun

Word Origin for riddle

Old English rǣdelle, rǣdelse, from rǣd counsel; related to Old Saxon rādislo, German Rätsel

British Dictionary definitions for riddle (2 of 2)

riddle

2
/ (ˈrɪdəl) /

verb (tr)

(usually foll by with) to pierce or perforate with numerous holesriddled with bullets
to damage or impair
to put through a sieve; sift
to fill or pervadethe report was riddled with errors

noun

a sieve, esp a coarse one used for sand, grain, etc

Derived Forms

riddler, noun

Word Origin for riddle

Old English hriddel a sieve, variant of hridder; related to Latin crībrum sieve
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