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.

Nearby words

  1. rid,
  2. rid of,
  3. ridable,
  4. riddance,
  5. ridden,
  6. riddled,
  7. ride,
  8. ride down,
  9. ride for a fall,
  10. ride hellbent for leather

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

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

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 Formsriddler, noun

Word Origin for riddle

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

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 Formsriddler, 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

Word Origin and History for riddle
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper