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verb (used with object), riled, ril·ing. Chiefly Northern and North Midland U.S.
  1. to irritate or vex.
  2. to roil (water or the like).
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Origin of rile

First recorded in 1815–25; variant of roil


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for riles

Historical Examples

  • Thet is, he's cruel when I riles him, as I got a habit o' doin'.

    Mary Louise in the Country

    L. Frank Baum (AKA Edith Van Dyne)

  • The idea of his threatenin' to shoot me with my own gun; that's what riles me most.

    Canoe Boys and Campfires

    William Murray Graydon

  • I jest can't put my finger on the spot that riles me, but that man riles me.

    Drusilla with a Million

    Elizabeth Cooper

  • About that, too, there is something that riles the New England blood in my veins.

  • Could Mr. Riles spare London from nine to eleven for a job like that?

    The Bail Jumper

    Robert J. C. Stead

British Dictionary definitions for riles


verb (tr)
  1. to annoy or anger; irritate
  2. US and Canadian to stir up or agitate (water, etc); roil or make turbid
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Word Origin

C19: variant of roil
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 riles



1825, American English spelling alteration to reflect a dialectal pronunciation of roil (q.v.); cf. heist from hoist and in the same era spile for spoil (v.). Bartlett writes that in both England and America roil "is now commonly pronounced and written rile" ["Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848]. Related: Riled; riling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper