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[rab-it] /ˈræb ɪt/
a deep notch formed in or near one edge of a board, framing timber, etc., so that something else can be fitted into it or so that a door or the like can be closed against it.
a broad groove let into the surface of a board or the like; dado.
verb (used with object), rabbeted, rabbeting.
to cut a rabbet in (a board or the like).
to join (boards or the like) by means of a rabbet or rabbets.
verb (used without object), rabbeted, rabbeting.
to join by a rabbet (usually followed by on or over).
Also, rebate.
Origin of rabbet
1350-1400; Middle English rabet < Old French rabat, derivative of rabattre to beat back, beat down; see rebate1
Related forms
unrabbeted, adjective
Can be confused
rabbet, rabbit, rarebit, rebate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for rabbet
Historical Examples
  • rabbet, rab′et, n. a groove cut in the edge of a plank so that another may fit into it.

  • Cut them to fit the mortises in the posts, also rabbet the back rails for the backing.

    Mission Furniture H. H. Windsor
  • While this is drying, an inlaid border strip as wide as the rabbet, either plain or built up, should be prepared.

    Carpentry and Woodwork Edwin W. Foster
  • Cut tenons on the end rails and rabbet them and the side pieces for the panels.

    Mission Furniture H. H. Windsor
  • Letting one piece of timber into another with a rabbet to give additional strength or finish.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • The rabbet should therefore be plowed before the joint is made.

    Handwork in Wood William Noyes
  • The coney is called the first year a rabbet, and afterwards an old coney.

    The Ornithology of Shakespeare James Edmund Harting
  • The panel may be of one piece, set into the rabbet and grooves.

    Carpentry and Woodwork Edwin W. Foster
  • In an end-lap joint on rabbeted pieces the joint must be adapted to the rabbet.

    Handwork in Wood William Noyes
  • This rabbet should not come quite to the front edge of the top.

    Woodworking for Beginners Charles Gardner Wheeler
British Dictionary definitions for rabbet


a recess, groove, or step, usually of rectangular section, cut into a surface or along the edge of a piece of timber to receive a mating piece
a joint made between two pieces of timber using a rabbet
verb (transitive)
to cut or form a rabbet in (timber)
to join (pieces of timber) using a rabbet
Word Origin
C15: from Old French rabattre to beat down
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rabbet

"rectangular groove cut out of the edge of a piece of wood or stone so that it may join by lapping with others," late 14c., from Old French rabat "a recess in a wall, a lower section," literally "a beating down," a back-formation from rabattre "to beat down, beat back" (see rebate (v.)). The verb is attested from mid-15c. (implied in rabetynge).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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