rifle

1
[ rahy-fuh l ]
/ ˈraɪ fəl /

noun

a shoulder firearm with spiral grooves cut in the inner surface of the gun barrel to give the bullet a rotatory motion and thus a more precise trajectory.
one of the grooves.
a cannon with such grooves.
(often initial capital letter) rifles, any of certain military units or bodies equipped with rifles.

verb (used with object), ri·fled, ri·fling.

to cut spiral grooves within (a gun barrel, pipe, etc.).
to propel (a ball) at high speed, as by throwing or hitting with a bat.

Nearby words

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

Origin of rifle

1
1745–55; < Low German rīfeln to groove, derivative of rīve, riefe groove, flute, furrow; akin to Old English rifelede wrinkled

rifle

2
[ rahy-fuh l ]
/ ˈraɪ fəl /

verb (used with object), ri·fled, ri·fling.

to ransack and rob (a place, receptacle, etc.).
to search and rob (a person).
to plunder or strip bare.
to steal or take away.

Origin of rifle

2
1325–75; Middle English rifel < Old French rifler to scratch, strip, plunder

Related formsri·fler, noun

Can be confusedriffle rifle

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

Examples from the Web for rifle


British Dictionary definitions for rifle

rifle

1
/ (ˈraɪfəl) /

noun

  1. a firearm having a long barrel with a spirally grooved interior, which imparts to the bullet spinning motion and thus greater accuracy over a longer range
  2. (as modifier)rifle fire
(formerly) a large cannon with a rifled bore
one of the grooves in a rifled bore
(plural)
  1. a unit of soldiers equipped with rifles
  2. (capital when part of a name)the Rifle Brigade

verb (tr)

to cut or mould spiral grooves inside the barrel of (a gun)
to throw or hit (a ball) with great speed

Word Origin for rifle

C18: from Old French rifler to scratch; related to Low German rifeln from riefe groove, furrow

verb (tr)

to search (a house, safe, etc) and steal from it; ransack
to steal and carry offto rifle goods from a shop
Derived Formsrifler, noun

Word Origin for rifle

C14: from Old French rifler to plunder, scratch, of Germanic origin

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 rifle
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper