• synonyms


[rif-uh l]
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verb (used with or without object), rif·fled, rif·fling.
  1. to turn hastily; flutter and shift: to riffle a stack of letters; to riffle through a book.
  2. Cards. to shuffle by dividing the deck in two, raising the corners slightly, and allowing them to fall alternately together.
  3. to cause or become a riffle.
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  1. a rapid, as in a stream.
  2. a ripple, as upon the surface of water.
  3. Mining. the lining of transverse bars or slats on the bed of a sluice, arranged so as to catch heavy minerals, as gold or platinum.
  4. a hopper for distributing bulk material.
  5. the act or method of riffling cards.
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Origin of riffle

1630–40; blend of ripple1 and ruffle1
Related formsun·rif·fled, adjective
Can be confusedriffle rifle
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for riffle

Historical Examples

  • Then I saw a fire over here, and just managed to make the riffle.

    Motor Boat Boys on the Great Lakes

    Louis Arundel

  • "I'll back my boys to make the riffle," confidently asserted Roque.

  • At the bottom of each ledge is a riffle to arrest the particles of gold.

    Getting Gold

    J. C. F. Johnson

  • In the third riffle, seven cards have to be held up, and in the fourth, ten.

    Sharps and Flats

    John Nevil Maskelyne

  • Riffle—A groove or strip to catch gold and mercury in a sluice.

    The A B C of Mining

    Charles A. Bramble

British Dictionary definitions for riffle


  1. (when intr , often foll by through) to flick rapidly through (the pages of a book, magazine, etc), esp in a desultory manner
  2. to shuffle (playing cards) by halving the pack and flicking the adjacent corners together
  3. to make or become a riffle
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  1. US and Canadian
    1. a rapid in a stream
    2. a rocky shoal causing a rapid
    3. a ripple on water
  2. mining a contrivance on the bottom of a sluice, containing transverse grooves for trapping particles of gold
  3. the act or an instance of riffling
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Word Origin

C18: probably from ruffle 1, influenced by ripple 1
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 riffle


1754, "to make choppy water," American English, perhaps a variant of ruffle "make rough." The word meaning "shuffle" (cards) is first recorded 1894, probably echoic; hence that of "skim, leaf through quickly" (of papers, etc.) is from 1922. Related: Riffled; riffling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper