riddle

1 [rid-l]
noun
1.
a question or statement so framed as to exercise one's ingenuity in answering it or discovering its meaning; conundrum.
2.
a puzzling question, problem, or matter.
3.
a puzzling thing or person.
4.
any enigmatic or dark saying or speech.
verb (used without object), riddled, riddling.
5.
to propound riddles; speak enigmatically.

Origin:
before 1000; Middle English redel, redels (noun), Old English rǣdels(e) counsel, opinion, imagination, riddle (rǣd(an) to counsel, rede + -els(e) deverbal noun suffix) with loss of -s- in ME through confusion with the plural form of the noun suffix -el -le (cf. burial); cognate with German Rätsel, Dutch raadsel


1. See puzzle.
Dictionary.com Unabridged

riddle

2 [rid-l]
verb (used with object), riddled, riddling.
1.
to pierce with many holes, suggesting those of a sieve: to riddle the target.
2.
to fill or affect with (something undesirable, weakening, etc.): a government riddled with graft.
3.
to impair or refute completely by persistent verbal attacks: to riddle a person's reputation.
4.
to sift through a riddle, as gravel; screen.
noun
5.
a coarse sieve, as one for sifting sand in a foundry.

Origin:
before 1100; (noun) Middle English riddil, Old English hriddel, variant of hridder, hrīder; cognate with German Reiter; akin to Latin crībrum sieve; (v.) Middle English ridlen to sift, derivative of the noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
riddle1 (ˈrɪdəl)
 
n
1.  a question, puzzle, or verse so phrased that ingenuity is required for elucidation of the answer or meaning; conundrum
2.  a person or thing that puzzles, perplexes, or confuses; enigma
 
vb
3.  to solve, explain, or interpret (a riddle or riddles)
4.  (intr) to speak in riddles
 
[Old English rǣdelle, rǣdelse, from rǣd counsel; related to Old Saxon rādislo, German Rätsel]
 
'riddler1
 
n

riddle2 (ˈrɪdəl)
 
vb
1.  (usually foll by with) to pierce or perforate with numerous holes: riddled with bullets
2.  to damage or impair
3.  to put through a sieve; sift
4.  to fill or pervade: the report was riddled with errors
 
n
5.  a sieve, esp a coarse one used for sand, grain, etc
 
[Old English hriddel a sieve, variant of hridder; related to Latin crībrum sieve]
 
'riddler2
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

riddle
"A word game ot joke, comprising a question or statement couched in deliberately puzzling terms, propounded for solving by the hearer/reader using clues embedded within that wording" [Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore], O.E. rædels "opinion, riddle, counsel, conjecture," from P.Gmc. *rædislijan
(cf. O.S. radisli, M.Du. raetsel, Du. raadsel, O.H.G. radisle, Ger. Rätsel "riddle"). Related to O.E. rædan "to advise, counsel, read, guess" (see read).

riddle
"perforate with many holes," 1817 (implied in riddled), earlier "sift" (early 13c.), from M.E. ridelle "coarse sieve," from late O.E. hriddel "sieve," altered by dissimilation from O.E. hridder "sieve," from P.Gmc. *khridan (cf. Ger. Reiter), from base *khrid- "shake" (cf. O.N. hreinn, O.H.G. hreini,
Goth. hrains "clean, pure"); probably from same PIE base as L. cribrum "sieve, riddle," Gk. krinein "to separate, distinguish, decide" (see crisis).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Riddle definition


(Heb. hodah). The oldest and, strictly speaking, the only example of a riddle was that propounded by Samson (Judg. 14:12-18). The parabolic prophecy in Ezek. 17:2-18 is there called a "riddle." It was rather, however, an allegory. The word "darkly" in 1 Cor. 13:12 is the rendering of the Greek enigma; marg., "in a riddle."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
If your fruit was riddled with tunnels, you had apple maggots.
The combination of tough and sugary foods helps explain why so many of the
  giant ape's teeth were riddled with cavities.
First of all, the whole story is riddled with errors.
The messages were not riddled with grammatical errors, as some earlier phishing
  messages were.
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