riled; riling

transitive verb

: to make agitated and angry : upset
Choose the Right Synonym for rile

irritate, exasperate, nettle, provoke, rile, peeve mean to excite a feeling of anger or annoyance.

irritate implies an often gradual arousing of angry feelings that may range from mere impatience to rage.

constant nagging that irritated me greatly

exasperate suggests galling annoyance and the arousing of extreme impatience.

his exasperating habit of putting off needed decisions

nettle suggests a sharp but passing annoyance or stinging.

your pompous attitude nettled several people

provoke implies an arousing of strong annoyance that may excite to action.

remarks made solely to provoke her

rile implies inducing an angry or resentful agitation.

the new work schedules riled the employees

peeve suggests arousing fretful often petty or querulous irritation.

a toddler peeved at being refused a cookie

Examples of rile in a Sentence

Her comments riled the professor. one sure way to rile me is to keep yelling for me
Recent Examples on the Web But his profanity would rile up his supporters in negative ways. Sudiksha Kochi, USA TODAY, 24 Mar. 2024 Lastly, Orban seems to be using the standoff to play to populist sentiment at home and rile up E.U. skeptics ahead of European elections in the spring. Beatriz Ríos, Washington Post, 31 Jan. 2024 That was more than enough to get Spears fans riled up about Timberlake, whose reputation had already taken a few knocks in recent years. Herb Scribner, Washington Post, 1 Feb. 2024 Every now and then a rumor can really rile up a fan base. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 24 Jan. 2024 But challenging the use of those words will equally rile others. Jesse Green, New York Times, 27 Feb. 2024 His fashion shows were events that people fought to get into, and the crowds who got in would be riled up into a near frenzy. Rachel Elspeth Gross, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 Chewing on his mouthguard … thumping his fist on his chest ... waving his arms to rile up the crowd ... jawing with opposing players … gesturing to fans … arguing with officials … high stepping, arms flailing, into huddles. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Feb. 2024 Even with only a few seconds of a song, with no tantalizing visual component, Lil Nas X managed to rile up a subset of critics. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 8 Jan. 2024

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

Word History


variant of roil

First Known Use

1624, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of rile was in 1624

Dictionary Entries Near rile

Cite this Entry

“Rile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


riled; riling
: to make angry

More from Merriam-Webster on rile

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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