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

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 Prestige Limousine has been criticized for maintaining vehicles rife with violations and for employing a driver lacking a commercial license. Michael Hill, The Seattle Times, "Limo driver’s family believes he was given an unsafe vehicle," 10 Oct. 2018 In April 1987, when speculation around the virus was rife, Diana was invited to open Britain’s first AIDS ward at Middlesex hospital. Katie Frost, Harper's BAZAAR, "9 Reasons Princess Diana Was So Much More Than A Style Icon," 31 Aug. 2018 The day has had a fascinating history ever since, rife with quirky coincidences and inventive celebrations. Caroline Simon, USA TODAY, "9 things you didn't know about the Fourth of July," 3 July 2018 Where this year’s draft favored big men at the top and 2017 was full of point guards, 2019 is presently rife with versatile wings atop the draft and fits in more neatly with where the NBA’s positional spectrum has shifted. Jeremy Woo, SI.com, "2019 NBA Draft Big Board: Top 60 Prospects," 27 June 2018 But the authors resist pure escapism: this novel is rife with political statements. Tessa Berenson, Time, "Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s New Novel Is Worth a Read—But Not Just for the Plot," 4 June 2018 Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives, who chaired the oversight committee, said the state public higher education system is already rife with inequities. Laura Krantz, BostonGlobe.com, "At UMass, Meehan finds himself mired in controversies," 26 May 2018 But Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C., said Illinois is rife with examples of recanted eyewitness testimony and confessions beaten out of suspects by police. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Illinois governor seeks to reinstate death penalty for mass murderers, cop killers," 15 May 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

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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