1

riff

play
noun \ˈrif\

Definition of riff

  1. 1 :  an ostinato phrase (as in jazz) typically supporting a solo improvisation; also :  a piece based on such a phrase

  2. 2 :  a rapid energetic often improvised verbal outpouring; especially :  one that is part of a comic performance

  3. 3 :  a succinct usually witty comment

  4. 4 :  a distinct variation :  take a disturbing … riff on the Cinderella story — Daria Donnelly

Examples of riff in a Sentence

  1. He stole that riff from another song.

  2. a mock news program with humorous riffs on current events

Recent Examples of riff from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of riff

probably by shortening & alteration from refrain


2

riff

verb

Definition of riff

  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to perform, deliver, or make use of a riff

Recent Examples of riff from the Web

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

First Known Use of riff

1948


3

riff

verb

Definition of riff

  1. :  riffle, skim riff pages

Recent Examples of riff from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of riff

short for riffle


RIFF Defined for English Language Learners

riff

play
noun

Definition of riff for English Language Learners

  • music : a short and usually repeated pattern of notes in a song

  • : a short set of comments on a particular subject


Learn More about riff


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up riff? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

lacking social experience or grace

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Emoji Quiz

  • emoji-the-quiz
  • What phase of the moon is this: 🌖 ?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!