Why was clemency trending last week?


[rahyf] /raɪf/
of common or frequent occurrence; prevalent; in widespread existence, activity, or use:
Crime is rife in the slum areas of our cities.
current in speech or report:
Rumors are rife that the government is in financial difficulty.
abundant, plentiful, or numerous.
abounding (usually followed by with).
Origin of rife
before 1150; Middle English; Old English rīfe; cognate with Middle Dutch rijf abundant, Old Norse rīfr
Related forms
rifely, adverb
rifeness, noun
overrife, adjective
unrife, adjective
Can be confused
rife, ripe (see synonym study at ripe)
3. plenteous, multitudinous; teeming, swarming.
3. scarce. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rife
  • First, a snail eats cow dung rife with the worm's eggs.
  • Now that security was removed-and the air seemed rife with suspicion.
  • Instead, you get voluminous amounts of recycled ideas rife with the latest buzz words and fad getting approved.
  • The history of technology is rife with stories and accounts of revolutionary approaches overturning the status quo.
  • Any tinkering, with these life essentials, is rife with unintended consequences and extremely dangerous.
  • The area of intelligence is especially rife with this conclusion.
  • Increasingly, the world seems to be rife with contamination.
  • His own early history, and the record of his films, seems rife with the required anxieties.
  • As any blogger knows, no matter how clearly and effectively you think you are explaining things, misunderstandings are rife.
  • Another problem with income tax is that underpayment is rife.
British Dictionary definitions for rife


adjective (postpositive)
of widespread occurrence; prevalent or current: rumour was rife in the village
very plentiful; abundant
(foll by with) abounding (in): a land rife with poverty
Derived Forms
rifely, adverb
rifeness, noun
Word Origin
Old English rīfe; related to Old Norse rīfr generous, Middle Dutch rīve
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 rife

Old English rife "abundant, common, prevalent," from Proto-Germanic *rif- (cf. Old Norse rifr, Swedish river, Norwegian riv, Middle Dutch riif, Middle Low German rive "abundant, generous"), said to be from PIE root *rei- "to scratch, tear, cut" "The prevalence of the word in early southern texts is in favour of its being native in English, rather than an adoption from Scandinavian." [OED]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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