rifle

1 of 4

verb (1)

ri·​fle ˈrī-fəl How to pronounce rifle (audio)
rifled; rifling ˈrī-f(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce rifle (audio)

transitive verb

1
: to ransack especially with the intent to steal
2
: to steal and carry away

intransitive verb

: to engage in ransacking and stealing
rifler noun

rifle

2 of 4

verb (2)

rifled; rifling ˈrī-f(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce rifle (audio)

transitive verb

: to cut spiral grooves into the bore of
rifled arms
rifled pipe

rifle

3 of 4

noun

1
a
: a shoulder weapon with a rifled bore
b
: a rifled artillery piece
2
rifles plural : soldiers armed with rifles

rifle

4 of 4

verb (3)

rifled; rifling ˈrī-f(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce rifle (audio)

transitive verb

: to hit or throw (a ball) with great force or speed

Examples of rifle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Star photographers show fans hiding and an officer with a rifle raised. Eleanor Nash, Kansas City Star, 20 Feb. 2024 Separately, services at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston resumed Sunday morning with a large security presence one week after a woman accompanied by her 7-year-old son walked into the megachurch armed with a rifle and opened fire. Alexandra Banner, CNN, 19 Feb. 2024 The journal American Rifleman says Mawhinney, whose father was a Marine, primarily carried a Remington M40 sniper rifle, typically firing from a distance of 300 to 700 yards. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Feb. 2024 Now residents of Ilion are bracing for Remington’s exit, ending an era that began when Eliphalet Remington forged his first rifle barrel nearby in 1816. Michael Hill, Fortune, 11 Feb. 2024 The suspect, who was a woman, entered the church with a long rifle. Andrea Vacchiano, Fox News, 11 Feb. 2024 In the first days, the military handed rifles from the backs of trucks to all willing to take them in Kyiv, as Russian troops advanced through the city’s suburbs. Marc Santora, New York Times, 8 Feb. 2024 Investigators who have painstakingly looked through the wreckage, found a torso and a rifle, but Stollsteimer did not speculate on identifying the victims. Sarah Rumpf-Whitten, Fox News, 9 Feb. 2024 When Johnny Link, the heard-of-hearing actor playing Jones, raises a prop rifle, another performer flaps an umbrella to conjure the sound of birds fluttering overhead. Thomas Floyd, Washington Post, 9 Feb. 2024
Verb
The hackers then use the malware to harvest as many credentials as possible belonging to various employees and devices on the infected network and to rifle around the network. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 23 Jan. 2024 Left-winger José María lobs a ball over to Messi who sits it on his left foot and finally has space and rifles a low drive into the corner. John Hopewell, Variety, 16 Jan. 2024 After Kylian Mbappe rifled his penalty into the top corner of the Newcastle United net there was only one thing anyone would be talking about postgame: the controversial handball which had led to its award. Zak Garner-Purkis, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 Sly, a freshman, got the ball on the wing, beat her defender, and rifled a bar over the keeper's head into the back netting. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 6 Sep. 2023 Andie Adams, Bishop Chatard The senior defender clinched a 2-2 (7-6 PK) win over Brebeuf, coming up seventh and rifling her attempt off the goalkeeper and in. Brian Haenchen, The Indianapolis Star, 28 Aug. 2023 Junior Tess Barrett rifled in five goals and assisted on two others -- all in the second half -- as the Skippers soared to the South Shore League win. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 6 Sep. 2023 Peralta rifled a double past first baseman Christian Walker to score Betts, who led off with an infield single, and Heyward followed with a double to right-center to score Muncy and Peralta for a 3-0 lead. Mike Digiovanna, Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2023 Nothing was taken from the victim’s vehicle, but the glove compartment had been rifled. Molly Walsh | Mwalsh@cleveland.com, cleveland, 18 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rifle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French rifler to scrape off, plunder, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German riffilōn to saw, obsolete Dutch rijffelen to scrape

Verb (2)

perhaps from French rifler to scratch, file, from Middle French, to scrape, plunder

and Verb (3)

First Known Use

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Verb (2)

1635, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1756, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (3)

1937, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rifle was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near rifle

Cite this Entry

“Rifle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rifle. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

rifle

1 of 4 verb
ri·​fle ˈrī-fəl How to pronounce rifle (audio)
rifled; rifling -f(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce rifle (audio)
1
: to search through fast and roughly especially in order to steal
rifled the coat pockets for loose change
2
rifler noun

rifle

2 of 4 verb
rifled; rifling -f(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce rifle (audio)
: to cut spiral grooves on the inside of a barrel of
rifled arms

rifle

3 of 4 noun
1
a
: a weapon with a long rifled barrel that is designed to be fired from the shoulder
b
: a rifled artillery piece
2
plural : a body of soldiers armed with rifles

rifle

4 of 4 verb
rifled; rifling -f(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce rifle (audio)
: to hit or throw a ball with great force
Etymology

Verb

Middle English riflen "to steal or carry away by force," from early French rifler "to scrape off, plunder"; of Germanic origin

Verb

perhaps from French rifler "to scratch, file," from early French, "to scrape off, plunder"

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