Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. People regarded as disreputable or worthless.
  • n. Rubbish; trash.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The rabble; crowds; the common people.
  • n. low class, ghetto, indigent

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Sweepings; refuse; the lowest order of society.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Scraps; refuse; rubbish; trash.
  • n. The rabble.
  • n. Sport; fun.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. disparaging terms for the common people

Etymologies

Middle English riffe raffe, from rif and raf, one and all, from Anglo-Norman rif et raf, rifle et rafle : Old French rifler, to rifle; see rifle2 + Old French raffler, to carry off (from raffle, act of seizing; see raffle1).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • I think the Campbells using the term riffraff (one word by the way) was unfortunate, because from context they mean criminals and the term riffraff has additional social class connotations that are inappropriate.

    New Haven Independent

  • And yet, for a city of this size, more than the usual combing of the riffraff is necessary.

    Lawgivers

  • The titled riffraff that had adorned the Louis XV-du

    The French Revolution A Short History

  • "I hope to... work with the alternative people, all the so-called riffraff, to give them legal representation that is not judgmental."

    Archive 2007-09-01

  • Riffraff of the riffraff are his friends now, same as they were here.

    The Conquest of Canaan

  • I resent being called riffraff because I go to a casino.

    seMissourian.com Headlines

  • True, but think how much better off we are now that our universities accept "riffraff" such as women, the poor, and the non-white.

    David Weinberger: Andrew Keen's Best Case

  • And to top it all off, they're so incompetant at keeping out the "riffraff" that they let the most famous atheist in the world in!

    Creationism and Censorship

  • They complained that their beautiful street would be ruined by the kind of riffraff that had to live in a single room for weekly rent.

    A Red Death

  • Caramon thought the episode was funny, however, and for the next mile he minced along the side of the wagon on his tiptoes, his handkerchief covering his face, feigning to be disgusted by them all and shouting "riffraff" in falsetto tones.

    The Soulforge

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