Word Origin & History
late 14c., from O.Fr. rafle "dice game," also "plundering," perhaps from a Gmc. source (cf. M.Du. raffel "dice game," O.Fris. hreppa "to move," O.N. hreppa "to reach, get," Ger. raffen "to snatch away, sweep off"), from P.Gmc. *khrap- "to pluck out, snatch off." The notion would be "to sweep up (the
stakes), to snatch (the winnings)." Dietz connects the O.Fr. word with the Gmc. root, but OED is against this. Meaning "sale of chances" first recorded 1766.