\ 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 Now, President Trump’s bid to rile up suburban voters with warnings about crime and low-income housing that critics have called racial dog whistles doesn’t seem to be resonating in Johns Creek. Brett Pulley,, "New Swing State Georgia Could Decide Control of the Senate," 28 Aug. 2020 US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is set to make a historic visit to Taiwan in the coming days, a move that is sure to rile up China. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for August 5: Beirut, coronavirus, election, airlines, Taiwan," 5 Aug. 2020 The league’s cowardice became further entrenched when President Donald Trump used the protesting players as a dog whistle to rile up his base. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: NFL's gestures in confronting racism are meaningless so long as Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned," 3 July 2020 Then, a white man in a blue T-shirt appeared to rile the crowd, according to video obtained by KOB4. Katie Shepherd, Anchorage Daily News, "Armed militia member arrested after man is shot at Albuquerque protest," 16 June 2020 Every year during spring training, on cue, Baseball Hall of Famer Goose Gossage manages to tear into the state of the game with his oft incendiary statements that rile up the majority of baseball fans. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "Goose Gossage rants about state of MLB: 'It's like the Democrats are running baseball'," 6 Mar. 2020 As a Democrat who riled Republican President Donald Trump during his post-shooting visit to Dayton, Whaley is used to sparking criticism on social media. Dan Sewell,, "After traumatic year, Ohio city rallies around hoops team," 28 Feb. 2020 For Trump, accusing Newsom of allowing homelessness to go unchecked in California and failing to clear forest floors of flammable leaves and pine needles presented a reliable way to rile up his base. Los Angeles Times, "In the coronavirus crisis, Newsom uses social media to raise awareness of the pandemic — and his profile," 10 May 2020 The June closure of Little Rock's only Krispy Kreme, 1315 S. Shackleford Road, still riles area fans. Eric E. Harrison, Arkansas Online, "Little Rock's year in food," 31 Dec. 2019

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

5 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for rile


How to pronounce rile (audio)

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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