Definitions for riddle
This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word riddle.
riddle, conundrum, enigma, brain-teasernoun
a difficult problem
a coarse sieve (as for gravel)
pierce with many holes
"The bullets riddled his body"
set a difficult problem or riddle
"riddle me a riddle"
separate with a riddle, as grain from chaff
permeate, pervade, penetrate, interpenetrate, diffuse, imbue, riddleverb
spread or diffuse through
"An atmosphere of distrust has permeated this administration"; "music penetrated the entire building"; "His campaign was riddled with accusations and personal attacks"
speak in riddles
explain a riddle
Samuel Johnson's Dictionary
Etymology: rædels , Saxon, from ræde, counsel, perhaps a trial of wit.
How did you dare
To trade and traffick with Macbeth,
In riddles and in charms of death. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.
The Theban monster, that propos’d
Her riddle, and him, who solv’d it not, devour’d;
That once found out and solv’d, for grief and spight
Cast herself headlong from the Ismenian steep. John Milton.
Her mother was thinking of a riddle. Dryden.
’Twas a strange riddle of a lady;
Not love, if any lov’d her: hey day!
So cowards never use their might,
But against such as will not fight. Hudibras.
Horse-beans and tares, sown together, are easily parted with a riddle. John Mortimer, Husbandry.
Etymology: from the noun.
Riddle me this, and guess him if you can,
Who bears a nation in a single man? John Dryden, Juvenal.
The finest sifted mould must be riddled in. John Mortimer.
To speak ambiguously or obscurely.
Etymology: from the noun.
Be plain, good son, and homely in thy drift;
Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift. William Shakespeare.
A riddle is a statement, question or phrase having a double or veiled meaning, put forth as a puzzle to be solved. Riddles are of two types: enigmas, which are problems generally expressed in metaphorical or allegorical language that require ingenuity and careful thinking for their solution, and conundra, which are questions relying for their effects on punning in either the question or the answer. Archer Taylor says that "we can probably say that riddling is a universal art" and cites riddles from hundreds of different cultures including Finnish, Hungarian, American Indian, Chinese, Russian, Dutch and Filipino sources amongst many others. Many riddles and riddle-themes are internationally widespread. In the assessment of Elli Köngäs-Maranda (originally writing about Malaitian riddles, but with an insight that has been taken up more widely), whereas myths serve to encode and establish social norms, "riddles make a point of playing with conceptual boundaries and crossing them for the intellectual pleasure of showing that things are not quite as stable as they seem" — though the point of doing so may still ultimately be to "play with boundaries, but ultimately to affirm them".
A riddle is a type of puzzle or question, typically presented as a phrase, statement, or question, that requires ingenuity, creative thinking or lateral thinking to find its solution. It is often posed in a form of a game or used as a form of educational tool. The answer to a riddle is often metaphorical or involving puns and can challenge the listener's understanding of language and logic.
a sieve with coarse meshes, usually of wire, for separating coarser materials from finer, as chaff from grain, cinders from ashes, or gravel from sand
a board having a row of pins, set zigzag, between which wire is drawn to straighten it
to separate, as grain from the chaff, with a riddle; to pass through a riddle; as, riddle wheat; to riddle coal or gravel
to perforate so as to make like a riddle; to make many holes in; as, a house riddled with shot
something proposed to be solved by guessing or conjecture; a puzzling question; an ambiguous proposition; an enigma; hence, anything ambiguous or puzzling
to explain; to solve; to unriddle
to speak ambiguously or enigmatically
Etymology: [OE. ridil, AS. hridder; akin to G. reiter, L. cribrum, and to Gr. kri`nein to distinguish, separate, and G. rein clean. See Crisis, Certain.]
A riddle is a statement or question or phrase having a double or veiled meaning, put forth as a puzzle to be solved. Riddles are of two types: enigmas, which are problems generally expressed in metaphorical or allegorical language that require ingenuity and careful thinking for their solution, and conundra, which are questions relying for their effects on punning in either the question or the answer.
Chambers 20th Century Dictionary
rid′l, n. an obscure description of something which the hearer is asked to name: a puzzling question: an enigma: anything puzzling, even a person.—v.i. to make riddles: to speak obscurely: to plait.—adj. Ridd′le-like (Shak.), like a riddle or enigma.—ns. Ridd′ler; Ridd′ling (Spens.), skill in explaining riddles.—adv. Ridd′lingly. [A.S. rǽdelse—rǽdan, to guess, to read—rǽd, counsel; cog. with Dut. raad, Ger. rath.]
rid′l, n. a large sieve for separating coarser materials from finer.—v.t. to separate with a riddle, as grain from chaff: to make full of holes like a riddle, as with shot.—n.pl. Ridd′lings, siftings. [A.S. hridder; Gael. criathar.]
Dictionary of Nautical Terms
A sort of weir in rivers.--To riddle. To fire through and through a vessel, and reduce her to a sieve-like condition.
Surnames Frequency by Census Records
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Riddle is ranked #1036 in terms of the most common surnames in America.
The Riddle surname appeared 33,507 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 11 would have the surname Riddle.
88.2% or 29,583 total occurrences were White.
5.8% or 1,974 total occurrences were Black.
2.1% or 707 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
1.9% or 667 total occurrences were of two or more races.
1.1% or 395 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
0.5% or 178 total occurrences were Asian.
The numerical value of riddle in Chaldean Numerology is: 1
The numerical value of riddle in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7
There's a big meta question -- to what extent do economic gains actually filter into political behavior. That is the riddle.
I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma: but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.
The discovery of a single skull of a child, in such a remote location within the cave system adds mystery as to how these many remains came to be in these remote, dark spaces of the Rising Star Cave system, it is just another riddle among many that surround this fascinating extinct human relative.
There was this huge world out there, independent of us human beings and standing before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partly accessible to our inspection and thought. The contemplation of that world beckoned like a liberation.
I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
Popularity rank by frequency of use
Translations for riddle
From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary
- prosít, hádanka, proděravětCzech
- Rätsel, durchlöchern, enträtselnGerman
- κόσκινο, αίνιγμα, εξηγώ, τρυπώ, λύνω, γρίφος, ξεδιαλύνω, κοσκινίζω, κρισάραGreek
- plagar, agujerear, harnear, adivinanza, cribar, harnero, acertijo, enigma, cribaSpanish
- puhkoa, rei'ittää, arvoitus, siivilä, siivilöidä, arvata, vilistäFinnish
- cribler, énigme, devinaille, devinetteFrench
- dubh-fhacalScottish Gaelic
- rejtvény, rejtély, talányHungarian
- cospargere, setacciare, risolvere, crivellare, riempire, spiegare, forare, enigma, scolino, indovinello, setaccioItalian
- panga, pereMāori
- doordringen, raden, zeven, raadsel, doorspekt, doorzevenDutch
- rzeszoto, zagadkaPolish
- enigma, peneira, adivinhas, charadaPortuguese
- ghicitoare, cimiliturăRomanian
- zagonetka, enigmaSerbo-Croatian
- fumbo, mafumboSwahili
- bulmaca, esrarTurkish
- Câu đốVietnamese
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"riddle." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 29 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/riddle>.