riffraff

[rif-raf]

noun

people, or a group of people, regarded as disreputable or worthless: a pack of riffraff.
the lowest classes; rabble: the riffraff of the city.
trash; rubbish.

adjective

worthless, disreputable, or trashy.

Nearby words

  1. riff,
  2. riffage,
  3. riffle,
  4. riffler,
  5. riffola,
  6. rifle,
  7. rifle bird,
  8. rifle green,
  9. rifle grenade,
  10. rifle pit

Origin of riffraff

1425–75; late Middle English rif and raf every particle, things of small value < Old French rif et raf, formed on rifler to spoil (see rifle2), raffler to ravage, snatch away

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

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British Dictionary definitions for riffraff

riffraff

noun (sometimes functioning as plural)

worthless people, esp collectively; rabble
dialect worthless rubbish

Word Origin for riffraff

C15 rif and raf, from Old French rif et raf; related to rifler to plunder, and rafle a sweeping up; see rifle ², raffle

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 riffraff

riffraff

n.

also riff-raff, late 15c., from earlier rif and raf "one and all, everybody, every scrap," also "sweepings, refuse" (mid-14c.), from Old French rif et raf, from rifler "to spoil, strip" (see rifle (v.)). Second element from raffler "carry off," related to rafle "plundering," or from raffer "to snatch, to sweep together" (see raffle (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper