rife

adjective
\ ˈrīf \

Definition of rife

1 : prevalent especially to an increasing degree suspicion and cruelty were rife— W. E. B. DuBois
3 : copiously supplied : abounding usually used with with rife with rumors

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Other Words from rife

rife adverb
rifely adverb

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."

Examples of rife in a Sentence

Speculation about who would be fired ran rife for weeks. a city government that is rife with malfeasance and corruption

Recent Examples on the Web

BBC AMERICA Television comedies are rife with female friendships. Anne T. Donahue, Marie Claire, "Why Don't Women on Drama Shows Have Any Friends?," 27 Dec. 2018 Responding to nine different distress calls, the TARDIS deposits the crew on the mysterious titular world, rife with debris from long-ago battles. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Doctor Who wraps a solid season with its first female Time Lord," 12 Dec. 2018 Petite Galette on Capitol Hill: Seattle isn’t exactly rife with great crepes, so the little counter that Sarah Naftaly — of neighboring Amandine Bakeshop and Marmite — installed inside Chophouse Row held promise. Bethany Jean Clement, The Seattle Times, "The 8 latest Seattle-area restaurant closures — including Madrona’s beloved St. Clouds," 28 Nov. 2018 Brexit has occurred, Trump has occurred, nationalism seems to be something that is going rife everywhere. Eric Johnson, Recode, "General Magic tried to invent a smartphone in the 1990s. This is why it failed.," 30 July 2018 Merino's transfer to Real Sociedad won't come as much of a surprise to Newcastle fans, as rumours of a deal for the Spaniard had been rife for some time. SI.com, "Newcastle United Midfielder Mikel Merino Joins Real Sociedad After One Year at St James' Park," 12 July 2018 The program is rife with fraud and dubious asset testing. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The GOP’s Food-Stamp Failure," 9 Dec. 2018 Around this time of the year, the Internet is rife with guides to dry brining and wet brining your Thanksgiving turkey. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "How to Roast a Turkey if You've Never Done It Before," 20 Nov. 2018 Smoking in the cockpit—which caused the Air China flight to plunge in July—is rife despite being officially banned, the foreign captains said. Trefor Moss, WSJ, "Engine Trouble: Chinese Airline Mishaps Put Spotlight on Pilots," 24 Nov. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of rife

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rife

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

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Dictionary Entries near rife

RIF

rifacimento

rifampin

rife

rifeness

rife with

riff

Statistics for rife

Last Updated

8 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for rife

The first known use of rife was in the 12th century

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More Definitions for rife

rife

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of rife

: very common and often bad or unpleasant

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More from Merriam-Webster on rife

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rife

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rife

Spanish Central: Translation of rife

Nglish: Translation of rife for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rife for Arabic Speakers

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