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rifle1

[rahy-fuh l] /ˈraɪ fəl/
noun
1.
a shoulder firearm with spiral grooves cut in the inner surface of the gun barrel to give the bullet a rotatory motion and thus a more precise trajectory.
2.
one of the grooves.
3.
a cannon with such grooves.
4.
(often initial capital letter) rifles, any of certain military units or bodies equipped with rifles.
verb (used with object), rifled, rifling.
5.
to cut spiral grooves within (a gun barrel, pipe, etc.).
6.
to propel (a ball) at high speed, as by throwing or hitting with a bat.
Origin of rifle1
1745-1755
1745-55; < Low German rīfeln to groove, derivative of rīve, riefe groove, flute, furrow; akin to Old English rifelede wrinkled

rifle2

[rahy-fuh l] /ˈraɪ fəl/
verb (used with object), rifled, rifling.
1.
to ransack and rob (a place, receptacle, etc.).
2.
to search and rob (a person).
3.
to plunder or strip bare.
4.
to steal or take away.
Origin
1325-75; Middle English rifel < Old French rifler to scratch, strip, plunder
Related forms
rifler, noun
Can be confused
riffle, rifle.
Synonyms
1. See rob.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for rifle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He might see them and could force them to cover with his rifle even at long range.

    Whispering Smith Frank H. Spearman
  • Ten emus came to water; shot twice with rifle at them, but missed.

  • His rifle was in his arms, and the shotgun stood beside him.

    The Camp in the Snow William Murray Graydon
  • He could follow his target as though a magnetic power attracted his rifle.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • In vain I tried to lift my rifle and have one shot for my life.

    In the Wilds of Africa W.H.G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for rifle

rifle1

/ˈraɪfəl/
noun
1.
  1. a firearm having a long barrel with a spirally grooved interior, which imparts to the bullet spinning motion and thus greater accuracy over a longer range
  2. (as modifier): rifle fire
2.
(formerly) a large cannon with a rifled bore
3.
one of the grooves in a rifled bore
4.
(pl)
  1. a unit of soldiers equipped with rifles
  2. (capital when part of a name): the Rifle Brigade
verb (transitive)
5.
to cut or mould spiral grooves inside the barrel of (a gun)
6.
to throw or hit (a ball) with great speed
Word Origin
C18: from Old French rifler to scratch; related to Low German rifeln from riefe groove, furrow

rifle2

/ˈraɪfəl/
verb (transitive)
1.
to search (a house, safe, etc) and steal from it; ransack
2.
to steal and carry off: to rifle goods from a shop
Derived Forms
rifler, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French rifler to plunder, scratch, of Germanic origin
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 rifle
n.

1775, "portable firearm having a spirally grooved bore," used earlier of the grooves themselves (1751), noun use of rifled (pistol), 1680s, from verb meaning "to cut spiral grooves in" (a gun barrel); see rifle (v.2).

v.

"to plunder," early 14c. (implied in rifling), from Old French rifler "strip, filch, plunder, peel off (skin or bark), fleece," literally "to graze, scratch" (12c.), probably from a Germanic source (cf. Old English geriflian "to wrinkle," Old High German riffilon "to tear by rubbing," Old Norse rifa "to tear, break"). Related: Rifled; rifling.

"to cut spiral grooves in" (a gun barrel), 1630s, probably from French rifler, from Old French rifler "to scratch or groove" (see rifle (v.1)). Related: Rifled; rifling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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