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[riv-it] /ˈrɪv ɪt/
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.
Origin of rivet
1350-1400; (noun) Middle English revette, rivette < Old French rivet, derivative of river to attach; (v.) Middle English revetten, derivative of the noun
Related forms
riveter, noun
rivetless, adjective
unriveted, adjective
unriveting, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rivet
  • 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 attention.
  • The yammer of rivet guns and the hiss of arc welders fills the air as new steel frames rise.
  • Two bells attached by a curved metal rivet and a type of friction drum may also be included.
  • We have seen the world rivet its hopeful gaze on the great truths on which the founders wrought.
  • Suddenly something in the bolt itself seemed to rivet his attention.
  • Only bicycles with a single rivet fastening the cable stop to the frame are subject to recall.
  • The rivet machine is operated by depressing a foot pedal, which is shrouded to prevent accidental operation.
British Dictionary definitions for rivet


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
verb (transitive) -ets, -eting, -eted
to join by riveting
to hammer in order to form into a head
(often passive) to cause to be fixed or held firmly, as in fascinated attention, horror, etc: to be riveted to the spot
Derived Forms
riveter, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from river to fasten, fix, of unknown 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 rivet

c.1400, from Old French rivet "nail, rivet," from Old French river "to clench, fix, fasten," possibly from Middle Dutch wriven "turn, grind," related to rive (v.). The English word may be directly from Middle Dutch.


early 15c., from rivet (n.). Meaning "to command the attention" is from c.1600. Related: Riveted; riveting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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