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[rif-raf] /ˈrɪfˌræf/
people, or a group of people, regarded as disreputable or worthless:
a pack of riffraff.
the lowest classes; rabble:
the riffraff of the city.
trash; rubbish.
worthless, disreputable, or trashy.
Origin of riffraff
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English rif and raf every particle, things of small value < Old French rif et raf, formed on rifler to spoil (see rifle2), raffler to ravage, snatch away Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for riffraff
  • So let me point out how much this candidate appeals to the riffraff.
  • Face masks blocked the airborne riffraff but did little to filter the stomach-churning stenches that emanated from kitchens.
  • The demonstrations cannot be dismissed as mindless acts of a mischief-bent riffraff.
British Dictionary definitions for riffraff


noun (sometimes functioning as pl)
worthless people, esp collectively; rabble
(dialect) worthless rubbish
Word Origin
C15 rif and raf, from Old French rif et raf; related to rifler to plunder, and rafle a sweeping up; see rifle², raffle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for riffraff

also riff-raff, late 15c., from earlier rif and raf "one and all, everybody, every scrap," also "sweepings, refuse" (mid-14c.), from Old French rif et raf, from rifler "to spoil, strip" (see rifle (v.)). Second element from raffler "carry off," related to rafle "plundering," or from raffer "to snatch, to sweep together" (see raffle (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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