Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A portion of a sail rolled and tied down to lessen the area exposed to the wind.
  • transitive verb To reduce the size of (a sail) by tucking in a part and tying it to or rolling it around a yard.
  • transitive verb To shorten (a topmast or bowsprit) by taking part of it in.
  • noun A strip or ridge of rocks, sand, or coral that rises to or near the surface of a body of water.
  • noun A vein of ore.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In the Tyrolese Alps, and especially in the region of the dolomites, “massive un-stratified limestones and dolomites rising amid strikingly contrasted sediments.”
  • noun A low, narrow ridge of rocks, rising ordinarily but a few feet above the water.
  • noun Any extensive elevation of the bottom of the sea; a shoal; abank: so called by fishermen.
  • noun In Australia, the same as lode, vein, or ledge of the Cordilleran miner: as, a quartz-reef (that is, a quartz-vein).
  • noun A kind of commercial sponge which grows on reefs.
  • In Australian mining, to work at a reef.
  • Scabby; scurvy.
  • noun The itch; also, any eruptive disorder.
  • noun Dandruff.
  • Nautical, to take a reef or reefs in; reduce the size of (a sail) by rolling or folding up a part and securing it by tying reef-points about it.
  • To gather up stuff of any kind in away similar to that described in def. 1. Compare reefing.
  • See the quotation.
  • noun Nautical, a part of a sail rolled or folded up, in order to diminish the extent of canvas exposed to the wind.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A chain or range of rocks lying at or near the surface of the water. See Coral reefs, under coral.
  • noun (Mining.) A large vein of auriferous quartz; -- so called in Australia. Hence, any body of rock yielding valuable ore.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any stony coral which contributes material to the formation of coral reefs.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any heron of the genus Demigretta.
  • transitive verb (Naut.) To reduce the extent of (as a sail) by rolling or folding a certain portion of it and making it fast to the yard or spar.
  • transitive verb to move the floats of a paddle wheel toward its center so that they will not dip so deeply.
  • noun (Naut.) That part of a sail which is taken in or let out by means of the reef points, in order to adapt the size of the sail to the force of the wind.
  • noun the last reef that can be put in.
  • noun See Reef-band in the Vocabulary.
  • noun the knot which is used in tying reef pointss. See Illust. under Knot.
  • noun a small rope formerly used to reef the courses by being passed spirally round the yard and through the holes of the reef.
  • noun pieces of small rope passing through the eyelet holes of a reef-band, and used reefing the sail.
  • noun a tackle by which the reef cringles, or rings, of a sail are hauled up to the yard for reefing.
  • noun to reduce the size of (a sail) by folding or rolling up a reef, and lashing it to the spar.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Scabby; scurvy.
  • noun The itch; any eruptive skin disorder.
  • noun Dandruff.
  • noun A chain or range of rocks, sand, or coral lying at or near the surface of the water.
  • noun Australia, South Africa A large vein of auriferous quartz; hence, any body of rock yielding valuable ore.
  • noun nautical A portion of a sail rolled and tied down to lessen the area exposed in a high wind.
  • noun A reef knot.
  • verb nautical To take in part of a sail in order to adapt the size of the sail to the force of the wind.
  • verb Australia To pull or yank strongly.

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

  • verb reduce (a sail) by taking in a reef
  • noun one of several strips across a sail that can be taken in or rolled up to lessen the area of the sail that is exposed to the wind
  • noun a submerged ridge of rock or coral near the surface of the water
  • noun a rocky region in the southern Transvaal in northeastern South Africa; contains rich gold deposits and coal and manganese
  • verb roll up (a portion of a sail) in order to reduce its area
  • verb lower and bring partially inboard

Etymologies

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

[Middle English riff, from Old Norse rif, ridge, reef.]

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

[Obsolete Dutch rif, possibly from Old Norse, ridge.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English ref, hreof, from Old English hrēof ("rough, scabby, leprous", also "a leper"), from Proto-Germanic *hreubaz (“rough, scabby, scrubby”), from Proto-Indo-European *kreup- (“scab, crust”), related to Old English hrēofla ("leprosy, leper"). Cognate with Scots reif ("a skin disease leaving crusts on the skin, the scab"), Old High German riob ("leprous, scabby, mangy"), Icelandic hrjúfur ("scabby, rough"). Compare riffe, dandruff.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From earlier riff, from Middle English rif, from Old Norse rif ("rib, reef"), from Proto-Germanic *rebjan (“rib, reef”), from Proto-Indo-European *rebh- (“arch, ceiling, cover”). Cognate with Dutch rif ("reef"), Low German riff, reff ("reef"), German Riff ("reef, ledge"), Old English ribb ("rib"). More at rib.

Examples

Comments

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  • The act of reducing the surface area of a sail, usually to protect both the sail and the boat from high winds.

    October 23, 2008