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[raf-ter, rahf-] /ˈræf tər, ˈrɑf-/
any of a series of timbers or the like, usually having a pronounced slope, for supporting the sheathing and covering of a roof.
verb (used with object)
British Dialect. to plow (a field) so that the soil of a furrow is pushed over onto an unplowed adjacent strip.
Origin of rafter1
before 900; Middle English; Old English rǣfter; cognate with Middle Low German rafter, Old Norse raptr. See raft1
Related forms
unraftered, adjective


[raf-ter, rahf-] /ˈræf tər, ˈrɑf-/
a person who engages in the sport or pastime of rafting.
a person who travels on a raft, especially to flee a country.


[raf-ter, rahf-] /ˈræf tər, ˈrɑf-/
a flock, especially of turkeys.
raft2 + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for rafter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The room inside was lighted by a fist-sized chunk of lumicon, hung in a net bag of thongs from the rafter over the table.

    The Keeper Henry Beam Piper
  • I'll fix the noose and jump with it from the rafter, then you can look for me!

    The Power of Darkness Leo Tolstoy
  • The boy heard him but did not say a word, lying on top of a rafter.

    Seven Mohave Myths A. L. Kroeber
  • A few of the slates had fallen away and exposed part of a rafter.

    By the Barrow River Edmund Leamy
  • He shivered as he rose, and went to the window, where his clothes were hanging from a rafter.

    Barlasch of the Guard H. S. Merriman
  • Nail mitred end of braces to the upright, and then to rafter.

    Carpentry and Woodwork Edwin W. Foster
  • She flew upon the work bench, thence to a rafter and settled herself as if for the night.

  • Mr. Springett had risen too, and swept down a ball of cobwebs from a rafter.

    Rewards and Fairies Rudyard Kipling
  • As he spoke a bullet whistled through the door and struck a tin of condensed milk which hung by a string from the rafter.

    The Red Horizon Patrick MacGill
British Dictionary definitions for rafter


any one of a set of sloping beams that form the framework of a roof
Word Origin
Old English ræfter; related to Old Saxon rehter, Old Norse raptr, Old High German rāvo; see raft1
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 rafter

"sloping timber of a roof," Old English ræftras (West Saxon), reftras (Mercian), both plural, related to Old Norse raptr "log," from Proto-Germanic *raf-tra-, from PIE *rap-tro-, from root *rep- "stake, beam."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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