riffle

verb
rif·​fle | \ ˈri-fəl How to pronounce riffle (audio) \
riffled; riffling\ ˈri-​f(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce riffle (audio) \

Definition of riffle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to form, flow over, or move in riffles
2 : to flip cursorily : thumb riffle through the catalog

transitive verb

1 : to ruffle slightly : ripple
2a : to leaf through hastily specifically : to leaf by sliding a thumb along the edge of the leaves riffle a stack of paper
b : to shuffle (playing cards) by separating the deck into two parts and riffling with the thumbs so the cards intermix
3 : to manipulate (small objects) idly between the fingers

riffle

noun

Definition of riffle (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a shallow extending across a streambed and causing broken water
b : a stretch of water flowing over a riffle
2 : a small wave or succession of small waves : ripple
3a : any of various contrivances (such as blocks or rails) laid on the bottom of a sluice or launder to make a series of grooves or interstices to catch and retain a mineral (such as gold)
b : a groove or interstice so formed
4 : a cleat or bar fastened to an inclined surface in a gold-washing apparatus to catch and hold mineral grains
5 [riffle entry 1]
a : the act or process of shuffling something (such as a deck of cards)
b : the sound made while doing this

Synonyms for riffle

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of riffle in a Sentence

Verb He riffled the pages of the magazine. Web research is convenient but doesn't offer the tactile pleasures of riffling through heavy old books.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Keep reading to check out more weekend deals, or head straight to Amazon to riffle through everything else that's on sale right now. Amy Schulman, PEOPLE.com, 6 May 2022 Two Guns spread through madly riffling brush, the path crunching under my hiking boots going uphill. Chris Malloy, Condé Nast Traveler, 8 June 2020 To simulate clapping, kids could be hired to ride their bikes around the cart paths, with playing cards clipped to the bike frames to riffle in the spokes. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, 16 May 2020 The Watergate hearings, which stretched into 1974, played like Shakespeare spliced with courtroom drama: riffling papers, conspirators, men in the wings and the penetrating southern drawl of Sen. Sam Ervin, which reverberated with moral urgency. Jeffrey Fleishman, chicagotribune.com, 4 Oct. 2019 The Watergate hearings, which stretched into 1974, played like Shakespeare spliced with courtroom drama: riffling papers, conspirators, men in the wings and the penetrating southern drawl of Sen. Sam Ervin, which reverberated with moral urgency. Jeffrey Fleishman, chicagotribune.com, 4 Oct. 2019 The Watergate hearings, which stretched into 1974, played like Shakespeare spliced with courtroom drama: riffling papers, conspirators, men in the wings and the penetrating southern drawl of Sen. Sam Ervin, which reverberated with moral urgency. Jeffrey Fleishman, chicagotribune.com, 4 Oct. 2019 The Watergate hearings, which stretched into 1974, played like Shakespeare spliced with courtroom drama: riffling papers, conspirators, men in the wings and the penetrating southern drawl of Sen. Sam Ervin, which reverberated with moral urgency. Jeffrey Fleishman, chicagotribune.com, 4 Oct. 2019 Justin Herbert with a ton of time, riffles a 28-yard laser to Johnny Johnson III for a touchdown. oregonlive, 30 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Online and at gun shows his company sells a range of gear from ballistic helmets to concealable armor to military-style vests that are able to take several hits from riffle rounds. Nathan Luna, ABC News, 17 June 2022 The riffle beetle lives in the water but can’t swim, and has wings but can’t fly. Annie Blanks, San Antonio Express-News, 13 Jan. 2022 This particular riffle had six species, including the Texas logperch and the Guadalupe bass, both of which have been historically scarce in the Mission Reach. Elena Bruess, San Antonio Express-News, 27 Nov. 2021 Durkalec suggested targeting the river waters from the first riffle down to Lake Erie, and reported that successful anglers are pitching casting spoons, in-line spinners and small diving plugs. cleveland, 30 Sep. 2021 Not long after comes a series of little 10-inch browns, all eager to eat in the same riffle, then a nice rainbow, and then, amazingly, a 14-inch brookie. Frank Sargeant, al, 8 Aug. 2021 Meacham’s long riffle through the files of the totally familiar is not without some interesting findings. Thomas Frank, Harper's Magazine, 22 June 2021 Steve dropped his fly into a riffle near the bank and instantly brought out a 8-inch rainbow. R. Gregory Nokes | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 9 Dec. 2020 Mormon Mountain, O’Leary Peak, Pine Mountain and the San Francisco Peaks stand out over acres of golden grasses while the shallow gorge of Anderson Draw makes an abrupt riffle at the lake’s north end. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 5 Sep. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of riffle

Verb

1754, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

1785, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for riffle

Noun and Verb

perhaps alteration of ruffle

Learn More About riffle

Dictionary Entries Near riffle

Riffian

riffle

riffle file

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for riffle

Cite this Entry

“Riffle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/riffle. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for riffle

riffle

verb
rif·​fle | \ ˈri-fəl How to pronounce riffle (audio) \
riffled; riffling

Kids Definition of riffle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move lightly Wind riffled the bird's feathers.
2 : to look through quickly I riffled through a magazine.

riffle

noun

Kids Definition of riffle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a shallow area of a stream bed that causes ripples

More from Merriam-Webster on riffle

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about riffle

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!