\ ˈrī(-ə)l How to pronounce rile (audio) \
riled; riling

Definition of rile

transitive verb

1 : to make agitated and angry : upset

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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 Indeed, people like Mary Wilmes, who owns a gift shop in the county seat of Greensburg, doesn't like to rile customers with talk of politics. Will Weissert, Star Tribune, "Democrats bank on relief aid to win back wary working class," 14 Mar. 2021 But while the insulin cohort seems to tame its targets, the pheromone-makers rile theirs up; both behaviors seem to bring hunter and huntee into close contact. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, "Cone Snails Are Liars and Murderers," 12 Mar. 2021 For more than four years, Trump had harnessed his social media accounts to drive the news cycle, set policy, move markets and rile up his base, often issuing statements or making declarations before his aides were aware of his plans. NBC News, "How Facebook and Twitter decided to take down Trump's accounts," 14 Jan. 2021 President Donald Trump used him to rile up his base. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Colin Kaepernick's activism moves to freezer section with Ben & Jerry's flavor," 10 Dec. 2020 Russian trolls, Finkelstein said, are especially willing to demonize whichever Jewish figure is most likely to rile people. Ben Sales,, "Report: Online anti-Semitism partly driven by Russian trolls," 16 Dec. 2020 That unrhymed couplet has got to rile folk-music Commies who have forsaken their old convictions. Armond White, National Review, "Van Morrison Sings for the Voiceless," 2 Dec. 2020 Because of late arriving mail-in votes, huge turnout, and the sheer closeness of November’s election in swing states, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had to rile up supporters and reassure neutrals at the same prime-time event. Christopher Caldwell, The New Republic, "The Biden Popular Front Is Doomed to Unravel," 23 Nov. 2020 Their game is to delay the vote certifications and rile up the MAGA base, which can then be mobilized to put pressure on Republican state legislatures to usurp the voters and appoint slates of Trump loyalists to the Electoral College. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Rudy Giuliani Is a Hot Mess," 20 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rile.' 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 rile

1624, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rile

variant of roil

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Statistics for rile

Last Updated

22 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for rile



English Language Learners Definition of rile

: to make (someone) angry : to irritate or annoy (someone)
US, informal : to make (someone) very excited


\ ˈrīl How to pronounce rile (audio) \
riled; riling

Kids Definition of rile

: to make angry

More from Merriam-Webster on rile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rile

Nglish: Translation of rile for Spanish Speakers

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