- a melodic phrase, often constantly repeated, forming an accompaniment or part of an accompaniment for a soloist.
- to perform riffs.
Origin of riff1
- to discharge (a person) from military or civil service, especially as part of an economy program.
Origin of rif
- Er [er] /ɛr/, a mountainous coastal region in N Morocco.
Related Words for riffstatus, case, position, action, situation, plight, quality, search, browse, flash, examine, scour, skim, check, scan, skip, glance, standing, predicament, trim
Examples from the Web for riff
Contemporary Examples of riff
Not that the Shakespearean riff on/rip off is limited to novels.Book Bag: 5 Novels Shakespeare Sort of Wrote
October 10, 2014
The crowd was there to listen to Chappelle riff on everything from the Wu-Tang Clan to Barack Obama to gay rights.Dave Chappelle’s Triumphant Return to New York City
June 19, 2014
Remember the Woody Allen riff about “what terrible food, and such small portions” at a Catskill Resort?Comedy Is His Calling: The Brilliance of Billy Crystal
April 18, 2014
He repeated the same trick later on in his speech, starting a riff with "Take Obamacare—not literally, but figuratively."Paul Ryan: Democrats Offer Americans a ‘Full Stomach and an Empty Soul’
March 6, 2014
Then Harrison keeps the riff going while Lennon plays the solo, one of only a handful he played as a Beatle.Was The Beatles’ Music Really That Unique? Yeah, It Totally Was.
February 2, 2014
Historical Examples of riff
To explore the unknown Riff country would be interesting indeed.
In the Riff he might be potted at, he might not: he would risk that.
Riff suffered as every other village in Great Britain suffered.The Romance of His Life
And between the park and the river lies the hidden village of Riff.
At Riff everything was cast in a superior and more modern mould.
- (in jazz or rock music) a short series of chords
- (intr) to play or perform riffs in jazz or rock music
- informal to speak amusingly or make (amusing comments or remarks)
Word Origin for riff
Riff Rifi (ˈrɪfɪ)
- plural Rifs, Riffs, Rifis, Rif, Riff or Rifi a member of a Berber people, inhabiting the Atlas Mountains in Morocco
- Also called: Rifian, Riffian (ˈrɪfɪən) the dialect of Berber spoken by this people
- See Er Rif
"melodic phrase in jazz," 1935 (but said to have been used by musicians since c.1917), of uncertain origin, perhaps a shortened form of riffle, or altered from refrain. The verb is attested from 1942, from the noun. Also in extended use. Related: Riffed; riffing.