[ rahyf ]
/ raɪf /


of common or frequent occurrence; prevalent; in widespread existence, activity, or use: Crime is rife in the slum areas of our cities.
current in speech or report: Rumors are rife that the government is in financial difficulty.
abundant, plentiful, or numerous.
abounding (usually followed by with).

Nearby words

  1. rifacimento,
  2. rifampicin,
  3. rifampin,
  4. rifamycin,
  5. rifaʿiya,
  6. riff,
  7. riffage,
  8. riffle,
  9. riffler,
  10. riffola

Origin of rife

before 1150; Middle English; Old English rīfe; cognate with Middle Dutch rijf abundant, Old Norse rīfr

Related formsrife·ly, adverbrife·ness, nouno·ver·rife, adjectiveun·rife, adjective

Can be confusedrife ripe (see synonym study at ripe)

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rife

British Dictionary definitions for rife


/ (raɪf) /

adjective (postpositive)

of widespread occurrence; prevalent or currentrumour was rife in the village
very plentiful; abundant
(foll by with) abounding (in)a land rife with poverty
Derived Formsrifely, adverbrifeness, noun

Word Origin for rife

Old English rīfe; related to Old Norse rīfr generous, Middle Dutch rīve

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 rife



Old English rife "abundant, common, prevalent," from Proto-Germanic *rif- (cf. Old Norse rifr, Swedish river, Norwegian riv, Middle Dutch riif, Middle Low German rive "abundant, generous"), said to be from PIE root *rei- "to scratch, tear, cut" "The prevalence of the word in early southern texts is in favour of its being native in English, rather than an adoption from Scandinavian." [OED]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper