Definitions

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

  • adjective In widespread existence, practice, or use; increasingly prevalent.
  • adjective Abundant or numerous.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Great in quantity or number; abundant; plentiful; numerous.
  • Well supplied; abounding; rich; replete; filled: followed by with.
  • Easy.
  • Prevalent; current; in common use or acceptance.
  • Publicly or openly known; hence, manifest; plain; clear.
  • Abundantly; plentifully.
  • Plainly; clearly.
  • Currently; commonly; frequently.
  • An obsolete form of rive.

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

  • adjective Prevailing; prevalent; abounding.
  • adjective obsolete Having power; active; nimble.

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

  • adjective Widespread, common (especially of unpleasant or harmful things).
  • adjective Abounding; present in large numbers, plentiful.
  • adjective obsolete Having power; active; nimble.
  • adverb Plentifully, abundantly.

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

  • adjective most frequent or common
  • adjective excessively abundant

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old English rȳfe.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old English rīfe, rȳfe ("rife, abundant, frequent"), from Proto-Germanic *rīfijaz (“generous”), from Proto-Indo-European *rēip-, *rēib- (“motley”). Cognate with West Frisian rju ("rife, much"), Low German rive ("abundant, munificent"), Dutch rijf ("abundant, copious"), Norwegian riv ("rife"), Icelandic rífr ("rife, munificent"), Icelandic reifa ("to bestow").

Examples

Comments

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  • This is the place, as well as I may guess,

    Whence eev'n now the tumult of loud Mirth

    Was rife, and perfet in my list'ning ear...

    Milton, Comus

    December 16, 2006

  • An odd word. It means common. English is rife with weird-sounding stuff like this.

    August 9, 2007

  • Yea, verily.

    January 16, 2008