rife

play
adjective \ˈrīf\

Definition of rife

  1. 1 :  prevalent especially to an increasing degree suspicion and cruelty were rife — W. E. B. DuBois

  2. 2 :  abundant, common

  3. 3 :  copiously supplied :  abounding —usually used with with rife with rumors

rife

adverb

rifely

adverb

rife was our Word of the Day on 11/17/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of rife in a Sentence

  1. Speculation about who would be fired ran rife for weeks.

  2. a city government that is rife with malfeasance and corruption

Recent Examples of rife from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rife.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

English is rife with words that have Germanic connections, many of which have been handed down to us from Old English. Rife is one of those words. Not a whole lot has changed with rife in its 900-year history. We continue to use the word, as we have since the 12th century, for negative things, especially those that are widespread or prevalent. Typical examples are "shoplifting was rife" or "the city was rife with greed and corruption." Rumors and speculation are also frequently described as "rife," as well. But rife can also be appropriately used, as it has been for hundreds of years, for good or neutral things. For example, you might speak of "the summer garden, rife with scents."

Origin and Etymology of rife

Middle English ryfe, from Old English rȳfe; akin to Old Norse rīfr abundant




RIFE Defined for English Language Learners

rife

play
adjective

Definition of rife for English Language Learners

  • : very common and often bad or unpleasant



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WORD OF THE DAY

to fight against or to call in question

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