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[rig] /rɪg/
verb (used with object), rigged, rigging.
Chiefly Nautical.
  1. to put in proper order for working or use.
  2. to fit (a ship, mast, etc.) with the necessary shrouds, stays, etc.
  3. to fit (shrouds, stays, sails, etc.) to the mast, yard, or the like.
to furnish or provide with equipment, clothing, etc.; fit (usually followed by out or up).
to assemble, install, or prepare (often followed by up).
to manipulate fraudulently:
to rig prices.
the arrangement of the masts, spars, sails, etc., on a boat or ship.
apparatus for some purpose; equipment; outfit; gear:
a hi-fi rig; Bring your rod and reel and all the rest of your fishing rig.
Also called drill rig. the equipment used in drilling an oil well.
any combination trucking unit in which vehicles are hooked together, as a tractor-trailer.
any kind of truck.
a carriage, buckboard, sulky, or wagon together with the horse or horses that draw it.
Informal. costume or dress, especially when odd or conspicuous, or when designated for a particular purpose:
He looks quite nifty in a butler's rig.
Verb phrases
rig down, Nautical. to place in an inactive state, stowing all lines, tackles, and other removable parts.
rig up, to equip or set up for use.
Origin of rig
1480-90; 1930-35 for def 4; probably < Scandinavian; compare Norwegian, Swedish rigg (noun), rigga (v.)
Related forms
outrig, verb (used with object), outrigged, outrigging.
overrigged, adjective
underrigged, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for rig up
Historical Examples
  • Scotty, suppose you get the binoculars for Barby, then rig up a fan.

  • What did I rig up my shed and a thousand feet of lumber for benches at the barbecue for?

  • So I'll rig up a bed and so on here, and I'll look out for the old man.

  • Tell Rudolf to rig up a wagon and bring rations and water for the men.

    A Young Man in a Hurry Robert W. Chambers
  • So you're going to rig up a big park and snake preserve for Neville Cardross?

    The Firing Line Robert W. Chambers
  • Why, rig up a jury-mast or two at once and make for the land!

    The Wreck of the Nancy Bell J. C. Hutcheson
  • But he did rig up fencing-wire for old Mac, the carrier, one night, though not across the road.

  • “We must rig up some different tackle, gentlemen,” said the mate.

    Fire Island G. Manville Fenn
  • Your old room is gaping to receive you; and Murtagh will rig up a berth for your boatman.

    Gwen Wynn Mayne Reid
  • If they were on water, instead of land, he could rig up a sail.

    Wind Charles Louis Fontenay
British Dictionary definitions for rig up

rig up

(transitive, adverb) to erect or construct, esp as a temporary measure: cameras were rigged up to televise the event


verb (transitive) rigs, rigging, rigged
(nautical) to equip (a vessel, mast, etc) with (sails, rigging, etc)
(nautical) to set up or prepare ready for use
to put the components of (an aircraft, etc) into their correct positions
to manipulate in a fraudulent manner, esp for profit: to rig prices, to rig an election
(nautical) the distinctive arrangement of the sails, masts, and other spars of a vessel
the installation used in drilling for and exploiting natural oil and gas deposits: an oil rig In full drilling rig
apparatus or equipment; gear
an amateur radio operator's transmitting and receiving set
(US & Canadian) a carriage together with one or more horses
(mainly US & Canadian) an articulated lorry
See also rig down, rig out, rig up
Word Origin
C15: from Scandinavian; related to Norwegian rigga to wrap


(Scot & Northern English, dialect) a ridge or raised strip of unploughed land in a ploughed field
Word Origin
a variant of ridge
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 rig up



late 15c., originally nautical, "to fit with sails," probably from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish, Norwegian rigge "to equip," Swedish rigga "to rig, harness"), though these may be from English; perhaps ultimately from PIE *reig- "to bind." Slang meaning "to pre-arrange or tamper with results" is attested from 1938, perhaps a different word, from rig (n.) "a trick, swindle, scheme" (1775), earlier "sport, banter, ridicule" (1725), of unknown origin. Also there is rig (v.) "ransack" from 1560s, likewise of unknown origin. Related: Rigged; rigging.


"distinctive arrangement of sails, masts, etc. on a ship," 1822, from rig (v.). Extended to costume, clothing outfit (1843); horse-drawn vehicle (1831), which led to sense of "truck, bus, etc." (1851); and apparatus for well-sinking (1875).

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



  1. (also rig-out) Clothing; outfit: How come you're wearing that rig?/ a waiter's or a chef's rig-out (1843+)
  2. A truck, bus, ambulance, etc (1930s+ Bus drivers & truckers)


To prearrange or tamper with a result or process; fix: Prizefights or horse-races have been rigged (1930s+)

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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Related Abbreviations for rig up


station equipment (shortwave transmission)
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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