American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A rocky shoal or sandbar lying just below the surface of a waterway.
- n. A stretch of choppy water caused by such a shoal or sandbar; a rapid.
- n. In mining, the sectional stone or wood bottom lining of a sluice, arranged for trapping mineral particles, as of gold.
- n. A groove or block in such a lining.
- n. Games The act or an instance of shuffling cards.
- v. Games To shuffle (playing cards) by holding part of a deck in each hand and raising up the edges before releasing them to fall alternately in one stack.
- v. To thumb through (the pages of a book, for example).
- v. Games To shuffle cards.
- v. To become choppy, as water.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In mining, the lining of the bottom of a sluice, made of blocks or slats of wood, or stones, arranged in such a manner that chinks are left open between them. In these chinks more or less quicksilver is usually placed, and it is by the aid of this arrangement that the particles of gold, as they are carried downward by the current of water, are arrested and held fast. The whole arrangement at the bottom of the sluices is usually called
the riffles. In the smaller gold-saving machines, formerly much used, as the cradle, the slats of wood nailed across the bottom for the purpose of detaining the gold are called riffle-barsor simply riffles.
- n. A piece of plank placed transversely in, and fastened to the bottom of, a fish-ladder. The riffles do not extend from side to side, but only about two thirds across. If the first riffle is fastened on the right side of the box at right angles to its side, it will extend about 30 inches across the box; the next, about 4 feet above, will be fastened on the left side of the box; the next, about 4 feet above, on the right side; and so on alternately until the top is reached. The water passing into the top is caught by the riffles and turned right and left by them until it reaches the stream below. Riffles furnish the fish a resting-place in scaling a dam.
- n. In seal-engraving, a very small iron disk at the end of a tool, used to develop a high polish.
- n. A ripple, as upon the surface of water; hence, a rapid; a place in a stream where a swift current, striking upon rocks, produces a boiling motion in the water.
- To shuffle a pack of cards by butting the two parts of the pack into each other and then bending them so that they slip together.
- n. A fast-flowing, shallow part of a stream causing broken water.
- n. A succession of small waves.
- n. A trough or sluice having cleats, grooves, or steps across the bottom for holding quicksilver and catching particles of gold when auriferous earth is washed. Also one of the cleats, grooves or steps in such trough.
- n. A quick skim through the pages of a book.
- n. The act of shuffling cards; the sound made while shuffling cards.
- v. intransitive To flow over a fast moving shallow part of a stream.
- v. transitive To ruffle with a rippling action.
- v. intransitive To skim or flick through the pages of a book.
- v. transitive To leaf through rapidly.
- v. transitive To shuffle playing cards by separating the deck in two and sliding the thumbs along the edges of the cards to mix the two parts.
- v. transitive To idly manipulate objects with the fingers.
- v. transitive To prepare samples of material using a riffler.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Mining) A trough or sluice having cleats, grooves, or steps across the bottom for holding quicksilver and catching particles of gold when auriferous earth is washed; also, one of the cleats, grooves, or steps in such a trough. Also called
- n. Local, U. S. A ripple in a stream or current of water; also, a place where the water ripples, as on a shallow rapid.
- v. stir up (water) so as to form ripples
- n. shuffling by splitting the pack and interweaving the two halves at their corners
- v. shuffle (playing cards) by separating the deck into two parts and riffling with the thumbs so the cards intermix
- v. look through a book or other written material
- n. a small wave on the surface of a liquid
- v. twitch or flutter
- Possible alteration of ruffle, from Middle English ruffelen, akin to Low German ruffelen ("to crumple") (Wiktionary)
- Possibly blend of ripple1 and ruffle1. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The standard way to mix a deck of playing cards—the one used everywhere from casinos to rec rooms—is what is known as a riffle or "dovetail" shuffle.”
“And he would smile and say, “Your riffle is imperfect.””
“I will stick to the 12 gauge and bolt riffle, that is my comfort zone.”
“The pirogue was still quite firmly settled into the Missouri mud, though in fact it was no worse off than the steamer, grounded for the night on what the river men called a riffle, or sandbar.”
“Underneath this colander-like portion of the long-tom is placed another trough, about ten feet long, the sides six inches, perhaps, in height, which, divided through the middle by a slender slat, is called the riffle-box.”
“Two strips of wood, about an inch square, called riffle-bars, were nailed across the bottom of the cradle-box, one at the middle and the other near the lower end.”
“Then it became clear that here is a key to the phenomena of atmospheric circulation, from the great polar-equatorial maelstrom which manifests itself in the trade-winds to the most circumscribed riffle which is announced as a local storm.”
“Jimmie carried the 'riffle' referred to in Cecelia Anne's text and a handful of blank cartridges.”
“Our plan was to cross the 200 yards of the Potomac at this point, following the upstream edge of the line of rocks forming the "riffle" seen here.”
“riffle," or rapid, where the stream ran very fiercely, with great swirls and waves in it, and the captain sang out to the engineer, "How much steam have you, Jack?”
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