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[raf-uh l] /ˈræf əl/
a form of lottery in which a number of persons buy one or more chances to win a prize.
verb (used with object), raffled, raffling.
to dispose of by a raffle (often followed by off):
to raffle off a watch.
verb (used without object), raffled, raffling.
to take part in a raffle.
Origin of raffle1
1350-1400; Middle English rafle dice game < Middle French, derivative of rafler to snatch; cf. raff
Related forms
raffler, noun
unraffled, adjective


[raf-uh l] /ˈræf əl/
Nautical. a tangle, as of ropes, canvas, etc.
1790-1800; raff + -le Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for raffle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • With a set of these you will find yourself winner at all dice games, and carry off the prize at every raffle you attend.

    Sharps and Flats John Nevil Maskelyne
  • We got five pounds thirteen and fivepence by the bazaar and the raffle.

  • The men lighted a tar-barrel, and began to raffle off a mule.

  • Had it been a raffle, it would have been the other way about.

  • By means of this hawser the lifeboatmen hauled their craft under our quarter, clear of the raffle.

    Heroes of the Goodwin Sands Thomas Stanley Treanor
  • When they entered Fazani's, the raffle was only waiting for the arrival of the Viscountess.

    Manners, Vol 3 of 3 Frances Brooke
  • raffle has a vein of sentiment in his nature and, I suppose, the romance of the thing appealed to him.

    Hard Pressed Fred M. White
  • Presently, a paper was handed about, to collect half guineas for a raffle.

    Camilla Fanny Burney
  • After spending the morning at Messrs. Run and raffle's, she returned home with a hackney-coach full of bargains.

British Dictionary definitions for raffle


  1. a lottery in which the prizes are goods rather than money
  2. (as modifier): a raffle ticket
(transitive) often foll by off. to dispose of (goods) in a raffle
Derived Forms
raffler, noun
Word Origin
C14 (a dice game): from Old French, of obscure origin
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 raffle

late 14c., "dice game," from Old French rafle "dice game," also "plundering," perhaps from a Germanic source (cf. Middle Dutch raffel "dice game," Old Frisian hreppa "to move," Old Norse hreppa "to reach, get," Swedish rafs "rubbish," Old High German raspon "to scrape together, snatch up in haste," German raffen "to snatch away, sweep off"), from Proto-Germanic *khrap- "to pluck out, snatch off." The notion would be "to sweep up (the stakes), to snatch (the winnings)." Dietz connects the French word with the Germanic root, but OED is against this. Meaning "sale of chances" first recorded 1766.


"dispose of by raffle," 1851, from raffle (n.). Related: Raffled; raffling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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