Tuesday, September 20, 2016


I used the term "rifle" and my brother asked, "Don't you mean riffle?"

Definitions from Oxford Online Dictionaries (NOT  the OED):

RIFFLE:  to turn over something, especially the pages of a book, quickly and casually.

RIFLE:  searching through something in a hurried way, in order to find or steal something.

RIFLE is pronounced just the same as the weapon and RIFFLE rhymes with the word "piffle".

I was surprised to see "stealing" as part of the definition of "rifle" but after checking six other sources, I learned that all seven of the sources had stealing implied in the definition.

As usual, my brother was correct because I was RIFFLING rather than RIFLING!

I knew that RIFFLING was a method of shuffling cards, but I did NOT know that a riffle is a shallow section of a stream or river with a rapid current.

From one of my favorite sites Grammar Girl:

Both rifle and riffle mean to go through something but when you're riffling, you are hunting, flipping through something, such as book pages, or shuffling cards (riffle is thoght to be a blend between ripple and ruffle).  But when you're rifling, you are searching frantically, or ransacking, usually meaning to steal something. (Rifle is derived from the Old French word for steal or plunder)

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