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[rif-uh l] /ˈrɪf əl/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), riffled, riffling.
to turn hastily; flutter and shift:
to riffle a stack of letters; to riffle through a book.
Cards. to shuffle by dividing the deck in two, raising the corners slightly, and allowing them to fall alternately together.
to cause or become a riffle.
a rapid, as in a stream.
a ripple, as upon the surface of water.
Mining. the lining of transverse bars or slats on the bed of a sluice, arranged so as to catch heavy minerals, as gold or platinum.
a hopper for distributing bulk material.
the act or method of riffling cards.
Origin of riffle
1630-40; blend of ripple1 and ruffle1
Related forms
unriffled, adjective
Can be confused
riffle, rifle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for riffle
  • Pool-and riffle-level composition of habitats in the study segments.
  • riffle areas usually form between two bends at the point where the thalweg crosses over from one side of the channel to the other.
  • Survey a typical cross section of a riffle reach at a location where the stream is free to adjust its boundaries.
  • Pool riffle complexes are designed to direct the flow towards the center of the channel.
  • During the spring, riffle areas are popular fishing sites.
  • riffle length: the thalweg distance between the top and bottom of a riffle.
  • riffle gradient: the change in elevation from the top to the bottom of riffle divided by the length of the riffle.
  • riffle areas offered cobble and boulders as well as water willow as primary cover types.
  • Repeat the above steps at a second location in the riffle with a different flow velocity.
  • Experimental sites are generally riffle habitat, but often had a combination of fast water and slow margin habitat.
British Dictionary definitions for riffle


when intr, often foll by through. to flick rapidly through (the pages of a book, magazine, etc), esp in a desultory manner
to shuffle (playing cards) by halving the pack and flicking the adjacent corners together
to make or become a riffle
(US & Canadian)
  1. a rapid in a stream
  2. a rocky shoal causing a rapid
  3. a ripple on water
(mining) a contrivance on the bottom of a sluice, containing transverse grooves for trapping particles of gold
the act or an instance of riffling
Word Origin
C18: probably from ruffle1, influenced by ripple1
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 riffle

1754, "to make choppy water," American English, perhaps a variant of ruffle "make rough." The word meaning "shuffle" (cards) is first recorded 1894, probably echoic; hence that of "skim, leaf through quickly" (of papers, etc.) is from 1922. Related: Riffled; riffling.

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

riffle 1


A hard swing at the ball; ripple: gives it a really good solid riffle

[1932+ Baseball; probably fr ripple fr rip]

riffle 2


: Give that deck a good riffle


To shuffle playing cards (1894+ Cardplaying)

[probably echoic]

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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