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Riff

[rif] /rɪf/
noun, plural Riffs, Riffi
[rif-ee] /ˈrɪf i/ (Show IPA).
(especially collectively) Riff.
1.
a member of the Berber people living in Er Rif in northern Morocco.
2.
Related forms
Riffian, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for riffi

riff

/rɪf/
noun
1.
(in jazz or rock music) a short series of chords
verb
2.
(intransitive) to play or perform riffs in jazz or rock music
3.
(informal) to speak amusingly or make (amusing comments or remarks)
Word Origin
C20: probably altered and shortened from refrain²
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 riffi

riff

n.

"melodic phrase in jazz," 1935 (but said to have been used by musicians since c.1917), of uncertain origin, perhaps a shortened form of riffle, or altered from refrain. The verb is attested from 1942, from the noun. Also in extended use. Related: Riffed; riffing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for riffi

riff 1

noun
  1. An improvised passage, esp a solo; break, lick: an initially funky bass riff (1917+ Jazz musicians)
  2. A solo passage of any sort: He never inflates a movement, never accelerates into showy riffs of excess energy (1917+ Jazz musicians)
  3. A particular variation or version: I have actually eaten something called a pastrami burrito dog, sort of a riff on the oki dog (1990s+)
  4. A piece of personal behavior, esp of entertainment; shtick: allow the star to do character riffs that approximate the sort of things she does as monologues in her one-woman show/ He can make out the riffs and scams of the inner city like a dog picking up a scent (1980s+)

[origin unknown; perhaps echoic; perhaps fr refrain; perhaps fr riffle or ripple in the sense of ''try, shot, crack'']


riff 2

noun

A refrigerator car; reefer1 (1950s+ Railroad)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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