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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
  • All one needed to set up a strappado was a sturdy rafter and a rope.
  • She relaxed and stretched in a yawn, hitting a rafter of cork.
  • rafter ties certainly are not mandatory, and many roofs do not have them.
  • The rafter on the pressure side of the roof does not help hold down the rafter on the uplift side of the roof.
  • rafters may not be solely supported by the existing rafter tails or fascia of the house.
  • The strap should extend above the centerline of the rafter or, for the strongest connection, completely over the rafter.
  • Exposed rafter tails should be protected against deterioration.
  • The rafter tails are exposed, as is the sheathing beneath the eaves.
  • The only area that the rafter tails are covered is above the main entrance to the hotel lobby on the south side of the building.
  • Keep rafter tails painted and gutters unclogged to ensure the longevity of eaves and rafter tails.
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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