What does rifle mean?

Definitions for rifle
ˈraɪ fəlri·fle

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word rifle.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. rifleverb

    a shoulder firearm with a long barrel and a rifled bore

    "he lifted the rifle to his shoulder and fired"

  2. plunder, despoil, loot, reave, strip, rifle, ransack, pillage, forayverb

    steal goods; take as spoils

    "During the earthquake people looted the stores that were deserted by their owners"

  3. rifle, goverb

    go through in search of something; search through someone's belongings in an unauthorized way

    "Who rifled through my desk drawers?"


  1. riflenoun

    A long firearm firing a single projectile, usually with a rifled barrel to improve accuracy.

  2. rifleverb

    to search with intent to steal; to ransack, pillage or plunder.

  3. rifleverb

    To scan many items (especially papers) in a set, quickly. (See also riffle)

    She made a mess when she rifled through the stack of papers, looking for the title document.

  4. rifleverb

    To add a spiral to the interior of a gun bore to make a fired bullet spin in flight to improve range and accuracy.

  5. rifleverb

    To strike something with great power.

  6. Etymology: from rifler, from Old Low Franconian *riffilōn (compare obsolete rijffelen 'to scrape', geriflian, riffeln, riffilōn), frequentative of rīfanan (compare rifa). More at rive.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To RIFLEverb

    To rob; to pillage; to plunder.

    Etymology: riffer, rifler, Fr. rijfelen, Dutch.

    Stand, Sir, and throw us what you have about you; if not, we’ll make you, Sir, and rifle you. William Shakespeare.

    Men, by his suggestion taught,
    Ransack’d the centre, and with impious hands
    Rifled the bowels of their mother earth
    For treasures better hid. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. i.

    You have rifled my master, who shall maintain me? Roger L'Estrange.

    A commander in the parliament’s rebel army rifled and defaced the cathedral at Litchfield. South.

    Mine is thy daughter, priest, and shall remain,
    And pray’rs, and tears, and bribes shall plead in vain,
    Till time shall rifle every youthful grace. Alexander Pope.


  1. Rifle

    A rifle is a long-barreled firearm designed for accurate shooting, with a barrel that has a helical pattern of grooves (rifling) cut into the bore wall. In keeping with their focus on accuracy, rifles are typically designed to be held with both hands and braced firmly against the shooter's shoulder via a buttstock for stability during shooting. Rifles are used extensively in warfare, law enforcement, hunting, shooting sports, and crime. The term was originally rifled gun, with the verb rifle referring to the early modern machining process of creating groovings with cutting tools. By the 20th century, the weapon had become so common that the modern noun rifle is now often used for any long-shaped handheld ranged weapon designed for well-aimed discharge activated by a trigger (e.g., personnel halting and stimulation response rifle, which is actually a laser dazzler). Like all typical firearms, a rifle's projectile (bullet) is propelled by the contained deflagration of a combustible propellant compound (originally black powder, later cordite, and now nitrocellulose), although other propulsive means are used, such as compressed air in air rifles, which are popular for vermin control, small game hunting, competitive target shooting and casual sport shooting (plinking). The distinct feature that separates a rifle from the earlier smoothbore long guns (e.g., arquebuses, muskets) is the rifling within its barrel. The raised areas of a barrel's rifling are called lands; they make contact with and exert torque on the projectile as it moves down the bore, imparting a spin. When the projectile leaves the barrel, this spin persists and lends gyroscopic stability to the projectile due to conservation of angular momentum, increasing accuracy and hence effective range. Early long rifles were muzzle-loaders firing spherical balls; the introduction of breech-loading allowed the use of elongated and aerodynamically efficient bullets, which did not yaw or tumble significantly in flight due to the spin.


  1. rifle

    A rifle is a type of long-barreled firearm designed for precise shooting, with a barrel that has a helical pattern of grooves ("rifling") cut into the bore walls. This rifling imparts a spin to a projectile around its long axis, which improves its aerodynamic stability and accuracy. The specific design characteristics of a rifle purpose varies, but generally they are used in hunting, sport shooting, and military operations.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Rifleverb

    to seize and bear away by force; to snatch away; to carry off

  2. Rifleverb

    to strip; to rob; to pillage

  3. Rifleverb

    to raffle

  4. Rifleverb

    to raffle

  5. Rifleverb

    to commit robbery

  6. Riflenoun

    a gun, the inside of whose barrel is grooved with spiral channels, thus giving the ball a rotary motion and insuring greater accuracy of fire. As a military firearm it has superseded the musket

  7. Riflenoun

    a body of soldiers armed with rifles

  8. Riflenoun

    a strip of wood covered with emery or a similar material, used for sharpening scythes

  9. Rifleverb

    to grove; to channel; especially, to groove internally with spiral channels; as, to rifle a gun barrel or a cannon

  10. Rifleverb

    to whet with a rifle. See Rifle, n., 3

  11. Etymology: [F. rifler to rifle, sweep away; of uncertain origin. CF. Raff.]


  1. Rifle

    A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile, imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the orientation of the weapon. When the projectile leaves the barrel, this spin lends gyroscopic stability to the projectile and prevents tumbling, in the same way that a properly thrown American football or rugby ball behaves. This allows the use of aerodynamically-efficient pointed bullets and thus improves range and accuracy. The word "rifle" originally referred to the grooving, and a rifle was called a "rifled gun." Rifles are used in warfare, hunting and shooting sports. Typically, a bullet is propelled by the contained deflagration of an explosive compound, although other means such as compressed air are used in air rifles, which are popular for vermin control, hunting small game, formal target shooting and casual shooting.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Rifle

    rī′fl, v.t. to carry off by force: to strip, to rob: to whet, as a scythe.—n. Rī′fler. [O. Fr. rifler—Scand., Ice. hrífa, to seize.]

  2. Rifle

    rī′fl, v.t. to groove spirally, as a gun-barrel.—n. a musket with a barrel spirally grooved—many varieties, the Enfield, Minié, Martini-Henry, Chassepot, Mannlicher-repeating, Remington, Lee-Metford, &c.—ns. Rī′fle-bird, an Australian bird-of-Paradise; Rī′fle-corps, a body of soldiers armed with rifles; Rī′fleman, a man armed with a rifle; Rī′fle-pit, a pit dug to shelter riflemen; Rī′fle-range, a place for practice with the rifle; Rī′fling, the act of cutting spiral grooves in the bore of a gun; Rī′fling-machine′. [Scand.; Dan. rifle, to groove, freq. of rive, to tear.]

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. rifle

    A fire-arm having a number of spiral grooves cut into the surface of its bore, for the purpose of giving the projectile a motion about a line coinciding with the direction of its flight. See Ordnance, Small-arms, Magazine Guns, and Lyman’s Multi-charge Gun.

Suggested Resources

  1. rifle

    The rifle symbol -- In this Symbols.com article you will learn about the meaning of the rifle symbol and its characteristic.

  2. Rifle

    Rifle vs. Riffle -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Rifle and Riffle.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'rifle' in Nouns Frequency: #2927

Anagrams for rifle »

  1. filer

  2. flier

  3. lifer

How to pronounce rifle?

How to say rifle in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of rifle in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of rifle in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of rifle in a Sentence

  1. Chief James E. White:

    She made her choice that many people in the same circumstance would say they would make, but it's the first time I've ever seen anyone make it. She braced herself to be shot in the back of the head or in the back while she administered first aid, chief James E. White's( Davis) advancing on her with an assault rifle( sic). She's administering first aid... she glances back, braces herself and continues to apply direct pressure.

  2. Ame Matoi:

    I would like to vote for a Democrat to fix the gun issue, but I don't want the guns taken away, i would like to see that the assault rifle age … would be 21.

  3. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton:

    He's armed with at least an assault rifle.

  4. Mostafa Saad:

    Once you play with your friends in Palestine you can never imagine yourself holding a rifle instead of your instrument.

  5. Rebekah Rorick:

    And I was like, ‘Why?’ And they are like, ‘Because there’s a gun in it,’ And I’m like, ‘But it’s a hunting rifle. I’m wearing camo. I have my dog with me,’ i was ready to cry. I didn’t know what I was going to do. The only thing I thought to do was address it.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for rifle

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"rifle." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 17 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/rifle>.

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