- 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.
- 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.
Origin of rifle1
- 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 rifle2
SynonymsSee more synonyms for rifle on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for rifled
I knew because I rifled through his mail that terrible October morning.I Was Gang Raped at a UVA Frat 30 Years Ago, and No One Did Anything
December 16, 2014
He rifled through the bushes, his hand passing near my face.Handcuffs, Ropes, and an Open Window: How I Escaped an Unthinkable Childhood
January 29, 2012
He had rifled the pockets of both the dead men, and this was their contents.The Cavalier
George Washington Cable
Everywhere the tombs had been rifled and the monuments destroyed.The Captain of the Pole-Star and Other Tales
Arthur Conan Doyle
As anticipated, the tilt had been rifled of its contents, chiefly flour and pork.The Gaunt Gray Wolf
I am convinced that these marks were left by the man who rifled the papers.The Return of Sherlock Holmes
Arthur Conan Doyle
They rifled us of everything we possessed, and began overhauling our baggage.In the Forbidden Land
Arnold Henry Savage Landor
- 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
- (as modifier)rifle fire
- (formerly) a large cannon with a rifled bore
- one of the grooves in a rifled bore
- a unit of soldiers equipped with rifles
- (capital when part of a name)the Rifle Brigade
- to cut or mould spiral grooves inside the barrel of (a gun)
- to throw or hit (a ball) with great speed
- to search (a house, safe, etc) and steal from it; ransack
- to steal and carry offto rifle goods from a shop
Word Origin and History for rifled
1775, "portable firearm having a spirally grooved bore," used earlier of the grooves themselves (1751), noun use of rifled (pistol), 1680s, from verb meaning "to cut spiral grooves in" (a gun barrel); see rifle (v.2).
"to plunder," early 14c. (implied in rifling), from Old French rifler "strip, filch, plunder, peel off (skin or bark), fleece," literally "to graze, scratch" (12c.), probably from a Germanic source (cf. Old English geriflian "to wrinkle," Old High German riffilon "to tear by rubbing," Old Norse rifa "to tear, break"). Related: Rifled; rifling.
"to cut spiral grooves in" (a gun barrel), 1630s, probably from French rifler, from Old French rifler "to scratch or groove" (see rifle (v.1)). Related: Rifled; rifling.