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verb (used with object), rigged, rig·ging.
  1. Chiefly Nautical.
    1. to put in proper order for working or use.
    2. to fit (a ship, mast, etc.) with the necessary shrouds, stays, etc.
    3. to fit (shrouds, stays, sails, etc.) to the mast, yard, or the like.
  2. to furnish or provide with equipment, clothing, etc.; fit (usually followed by out or up).
  3. to assemble, install, or prepare (often followed by up).
  4. to manipulate fraudulently: to rig prices.
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  1. the arrangement of the masts, spars, sails, etc., on a boat or ship.
  2. apparatus for some purpose; equipment; outfit; gear: a hi-fi rig; Bring your rod and reel and all the rest of your fishing rig.
  3. Also called drill rig. the equipment used in drilling an oil well.
  4. any combination trucking unit in which vehicles are hooked together, as a tractor-trailer.
  5. any kind of truck.
  6. a carriage, buckboard, sulky, or wagon together with the horse or horses that draw it.
  7. Informal. costume or dress, especially when odd or conspicuous, or when designated for a particular purpose: He looks quite nifty in a butler's rig.
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Verb Phrases
  1. rig down, Nautical. to place in an inactive state, stowing all lines, tackles, and other removable parts.
  2. rig up, to equip or set up for use.
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Origin of rig

1480–90; 1930–35 for def 4; probably < Scandinavian; compare Norwegian, Swedish rigg (noun), rigga (v.)
Related formsout·rig, verb (used with object), out·rigged, out·rig·ging.o·ver·rigged, adjectiveun·der·rigged, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for rig up

appoint, drape, gear, prepare, supply, provide, tog, accoutre, suit, provision, arm, furnish, stock, deck, garment, clad, cover, array, raiment, dud

British Dictionary definitions for rig up

rig up

  1. (tr, adverb) to erect or construct, esp as a temporary measurecameras were rigged up to televise the event
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verb rigs, rigging or rigged (tr)
  1. nautical to equip (a vessel, mast, etc) with (sails, rigging, etc)
  2. nautical to set up or prepare ready for use
  3. to put the components of (an aircraft, etc) into their correct positions
  4. to manipulate in a fraudulent manner, esp for profitto rig prices; to rig an election
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  1. nautical the distinctive arrangement of the sails, masts, and other spars of a vessel
  2. the installation used in drilling for and exploiting natural oil and gas depositsan oil rig In full: drilling rig
  3. apparatus or equipment; gear
  4. an amateur radio operator's transmitting and receiving set
  5. US and Canadian a carriage together with one or more horses
  6. mainly US and Canadian an articulated lorry
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Word Origin for rig

C15: from Scandinavian; related to Norwegian rigga to wrap


  1. Scot and Northern English dialect a ridge or raised strip of unploughed land in a ploughed field
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Word Origin for rig

a variant of ridge
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 rig up



late 15c., originally nautical, "to fit with sails," probably from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish, Norwegian rigge "to equip," Swedish rigga "to rig, harness"), though these may be from English; perhaps ultimately from PIE *reig- "to bind." Slang meaning "to pre-arrange or tamper with results" is attested from 1938, perhaps a different word, from rig (n.) "a trick, swindle, scheme" (1775), earlier "sport, banter, ridicule" (1725), of unknown origin. Also there is rig (v.) "ransack" from 1560s, likewise of unknown origin. Related: Rigged; rigging.

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"distinctive arrangement of sails, masts, etc. on a ship," 1822, from rig (v.). Extended to costume, clothing outfit (1843); horse-drawn vehicle (1831), which led to sense of "truck, bus, etc." (1851); and apparatus for well-sinking (1875).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper