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

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Synonyms for riffle

Synonyms: Verb

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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 Two Guns spread through madly riffling brush, the path crunching under my hiking boots going uphill. Chris Malloy, Condé Nast Traveler, "Arizona’s Ghost Towns Are a Natural Escape During Coronavirus," 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, "Let’s have some fake cheers for Harding Park, MLB and robo umps," 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, "Watergate was a TV spectacle. Just wait for the reboot: Trump," 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, "Watergate was a TV spectacle. Just wait for the reboot: Trump," 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, "Watergate was a TV spectacle. Just wait for the reboot: Trump," 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, "Watergate was a TV spectacle. Just wait for the reboot: Trump," 4 Oct. 2019 Justin Herbert with a ton of time, riffles a 28-yard laser to Johnny Johnson III for a touchdown. oregonlive, "Rewinding Oregon Ducks’ 24-10 Civil War football victory against Oregon State Beavers: Live updates recap," 30 Nov. 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, "Watergate was a TV spectacle. Just wait for the reboot: Trump," 4 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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, "No one ever uttered a bad word about Steve Carter — expert reporter, editor and fisherman," 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, "Wildlife hike: You could see pronghorns on this trail near Flagstaff. Here's how to do it," 5 Sep. 2020 Choosing to begin the riffle with the same card each time is an example of a prime. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "This Is the Secret of How Magicians Control Your Mind with Card Tricks," 29 July 2020 When abnormally high flows from spring runoff are pounding the outside bends and pushing rocks down the riffles where trout usually hold, the trout move out of the way. John Merwin, Field & Stream, "Catch Big Spring Trout in High, Dirty Water," 9 Apr. 2020 Through the riffle's viewfinder, Mike sees Judy's son in the crowd and drops the weapon. Elizabeth Montgomery, azcentral, "Garrett Hedlund and Forrest Whitaker are great in 'Burden,' but the film lacks impact," 5 Mar. 2020 Flatland consultant David Heilman recommended the riffle modification, which involves installing a sloping stepping stone system that mimics the elevation of the dam, but allows fish and sediment to wash over it. Carole Carlson, Post-Tribune, "Lake Station dam option retains river culture," 16 May 2018 Steelhead trout run is on: Lake Erie’s Northeast Ohio tributaries are coming down after the big snows earlier this week, and steelhead trout are moving to the riffles and deep pools. D'arcy Egan, cleveland, "Steelhead trout run is on; Lake Erie walleye limits within reach: Fishing Report for Nov. 15," 15 Nov. 2019 There are just enough riffles to spice things up, but nothing to set your teeth on edge. Scott Craven, azcentral, "5 Arizona outdoor adventures that end with a glass of wine in your hand," 8 Nov. 2019

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.

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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

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Cite this Entry

“Riffle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/riffle. Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for riffle

riffle

verb

English Language Learners Definition of riffle

chiefly British : to look through something quickly and not very closely

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

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