a metal pin for passing through holes in two or more plates or pieces to hold them together, usually made with a head at one end, the other end being hammered into a head after insertion.
verb (used with object), riveted, riveting or (especially British) rivetted, rivetting.
to fasten with a rivet or rivets.
to hammer or spread out the end of (a pin, bolt, etc.) in order to form a head and secure something; clinch.
to fasten or fix firmly.
to hold (the eye, attention, etc.) firmly.

1350–1400; (noun) Middle English revette, rivette < Old French rivet, derivative of river to attach; (v.) Middle English revetten, derivative of the noun

riveter, noun
rivetless, adjective
unriveted, adjective
unriveting, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
rivet (ˈrɪvɪt)
1.  a short metal pin for fastening two or more pieces together, having a head at one end, the other end being hammered flat after being passed through holes in the pieces
vb , -ets, -eting, -eted
2.  to join by riveting
3.  to hammer in order to form into a head
4.  (often passive) to cause to be fixed or held firmly, as in fascinated attention, horror, etc: to be riveted to the spot
[C14: from Old French, from river to fasten, fix, of unknown origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

c.1400, from O.Fr. rivet, possibly from M.Du. wriven "turn, grind." The English word may be directly from M.Du. The verb is attested from early 15c. Meaning "to command the attention" is from c.1600; riveting (adj.) in this sense is from 1854.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


headed pin or bolt used as a permanent fastening in metalwork; for several decades it was indispensable in steel construction. A head is formed on the plain end of the pin by hammering or by direct pressure. Cold riveting is practicable for small rivets of copper, brass, aluminum, iron, or steel, but the larger iron and steel rivets have to be heated to secure rapid and easy closing.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
It's not so much the rivets as the rivet holes that stop cracks.
When you think of sports, you think of the games on the field, the dramatic
  moments that rivet us.
If you're getting into vacuum forming your parts, you'll probably want to
  graduate from the glue gun to the rivet gun.
Much of it is so badly bungled that it can't help but rivet the audience's
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