• "Charlie grasped his rifle in both hands."
    "Charlie grasped his rifle in both hands."
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v rifle go through in search of something; search through someone's belongings in an unauthorized way "Who rifled through my desk drawers?"
    • v rifle steal goods; take as spoils "During the earthquake people looted the stores that were deserted by their owners"
    • n rifle a shoulder firearm with a long barrel and a rifled bore "he lifted the rifle to his shoulder and fired"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Krag-Jorgenson magazine rifle Krag-Jorgenson magazine rifle
Mauser rifle with clip Mauser rifle with clip
Rifle-calibre Maxim Gun Rifle-calibre Maxim Gun
Man with rifles Man with rifles

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: During World War II, condoms were used to cover rifle barrels from being damaged by salt water as the soldiers swam to shore
    • Rifle (Mil) A body of soldiers armed with rifles.
    • Rifle A gun, the inside of whose barrel is grooved with spiral channels, thus giving the ball a rotary motion and insuring greater accuracy of fire. As a military firearm it has superseded the musket.
    • Rifle A strip of wood covered with emery or a similar material, used for sharpening scythes.
    • Rifle To commit robbery.
    • Rifle To grove; to channel; especially, to groove internally with spiral channels; as, to rifle a gun barrel or a cannon.
    • Rifle To raffle.
    • Rifle To seize and bear away by force; to snatch away; to carry off. "Till time shall rifle every youthful grace."
    • Rifle To strip; to rob; to pillage. "Stand, sir, and throw us that you have about ye:
      If not, we'll make you sit and rifle you."
    • Rifle To whet with a rifle. See Rifle n., 3.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: In some chuch in South Carolina, every man must bring a rifle to church on Sunday to ward off Indian attacks.
    • rifle To seize and bear away by force; snatch away.
    • rifle To rob; plunder; pillage: often followed by of.
    • rifle To raffle; dispose of in a raffle.
    • rifle To commit robbery or theft.
    • rifle To raffle; play at dice or some other game of chance wherein the winner secures stakes previously agreed upon.
    • rifle In gun-making, to cut spiral grooves in (the bore of a gun-barrel). Grooves are now in universal use for small-arms, and for the most part are used in ordnance. Small-arms are rifled by a cutting-tool attached to a rod and drawn through the barrel, while at the same time a revolution on the longitudinal axis is imparted to the tool. Rifled cannon are rifled by pushing through their bores a cutting-tool mounted on an arbor that exactly fits the bore. See rifling-machine.
    • rifle To whet, as a scythe, with a rifle.
    • rifle To groove firearms spirally along the interior of the bore.
    • n rifle A firearm or a piece of ordnance having a barrel (or barrels) with a spirally grooved bore. Spirally grooved gun-barrels are of German origin; some authorities think they were invented by Gaspard Kollner of Vienna, in 1498; others regard Augustus Kotter of Nuremberg as the originator, the invention, according to these writers, dating between 1500 and 1520. Straight grooves were used in the flfteenth century, but their purpose was simply to form recesses for the reception of dirt and to aid in cleaning the gun. Spiral grooving has a distinct object beyond this, namely, to impart to the projectile a rotation whereby its flight is rendered more nearly accurate—the principle being that, when the center of gravity in the bullet does not exactly coincide with its longitudinal axis, as is nearly always the case, any tendency to deviate from the vertical plane including that axis will, by the constant revolution of the bullet, be exerted in all directions at right angles with its geometrical axis. A variety of shapes in the cross-sections of the grooves have been and are still used. The number of grooves is also different for different rifles, as is the pitch of the spiral—that is, the distance, measured on the axis of the bore, included by a single turn of the spiral. The variation in small-arms in this particular is wide—from one turn in 17 inches to one turn in 7 feet. In ordnance the pitch is much greater. Breech-loading guns began to appear in the first half of the sixteenth century, and were probably either of French or German origin. Such guns were made in Italy in the latter half of the sixteenth century. During the war of independence in America, a breech-loading rifle invented by Major Patrick Fergusson, and known as the Fergusson rifle, was used; it was the first breech-loading carbine used in the British regular army. A great many breech-loading rifles have since appeared. Muzzle-loading rifles have been superseded as military arms by these guns, and to a large extent the latter have supplanted muzzle-loaders for sporting arms. Many breech-loaders once of importance in American and European warfare have in their turn been superseded by improved arms. Among them is the once justly celebrated Prussian needle-gun. These improvements have culminated in the Winchester and other repeating arms, which admit of refined accuracy of aim with great rapidity of firing. The tendency in modern rifles is toward smaller bores and chambers. The most recent advance in this direction of improvement is of German origin (1889-90), and consists in making rifles of much smaller bore and less weight than have hitherto been used, with bullets of lead and wolfram alloy having a specific gravity 50 per cent. greater than that of the lead and antimony alloy of the common hardened rifle-bullets. The bores of guns with which experiments have been made are less than 8 millimeters in diameter. Some having bores only 4 millimeters (about 1/8 inch) in diameter have been tried with surprising increase of range and effectiveness, on account of the diminished air-resistance. Exclusive of repeating rifles or magazine-guns, the principal differences between modern rifles are in their breech-actions and their firing-mechanism. Some of the more important of these arms are described below.
    • n rifle A soldier armed with a rifle: so named at a time when the rifle was not the usual weapon of the infantry: as, the Royal Irish Rifles—that is, the 83d and 86th regiments of British infantry.
    • n rifle A bent stick standing on the butt of the handle of a scythe.
    • n rifle An instrument used after the manner of a whetstone for sharpening scythes, and consisting of a piece of wood coated with sharp sand or emery, with a handle at one end.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The US Army has a 50 caliber sniper rifle that can shoot through the engine block of a car.
    • v.t Rifle rī′fl to carry off by force: to strip, to rob: to whet, as a scythe
    • v.t Rifle rī′fl to groove spirally, as a gun-barrel
    • n Rifle a musket with a barrel spirally grooved—many varieties, the Enfield, Minié, Martini-Henry, Chassepot, Mannlicher-repeating, Remington, Lee-Metford, &c
    • ***


  • Booker T. Washington
    “We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Akin to Dan. rifle, or riffel, the rifle of a gun, a chamfer (cf. riffel, riffel,bösse, a rifle gun, rifle, to rifle a gun, G. riefeln, riefen, to chamfer, groove), and E. rive,. See Rive, and cf. Riffle Rivel


In literature:

The rifle was a terribly effective weapon in the hands of the sharpshooters.
"A Lieutenant at Eighteen" by Oliver Optic
Henry, rifle across his knees, crouched in the stern.
"The Border Watch" by Joseph A. Altsheler
All the time the rifles were spitting out their fire.
"The Kangaroo Marines" by R. W. Campbell
Uncle Dick's answer was to pass to his nephew a certain long package, which proved to be a fine rifle in a leather case.
"The Young Alaskans" by Emerson Hough
To the eastward of Abbassieh barracks, near the rifle ranges, 150 feet of stone wall had been erected.
"Khartoum Campaign, 1898" by Bennet Burleigh
We were doing a rifle parade one day at Berkhamsted, when Lieut.
"Q.6.a and Other places" by Francis Buckley
These nights on the rifle, always the rifle.
"At Plattsburg" by Allen French
Seizing his rifle, Ree instantly sprang away from the firelight.
"Far Past the Frontier" by James A. Braden
With rifles ready to open fire they waited.
"Wilmshurst of the Frontier Force" by Percy F. Westerman
He tried to lift and level his rifle; his arm collapsed and dangled broken and powerless; his rifle clattered to the forest floor.
"The Flaming Jewel" by Robert W. Chambers

In poetry:

A rifle shot had been swifter,
Less trouble a sabre thrust,
But his Fate decided fever,
And each man dies as he must.
"Camp Follower's Song, Gomal River" by Laurence Hope
Full many a deer his steady aim,
With faithful rifle slew,
But, faithful as his rifle was,
His hound was faithful, too.
"The Huntsman And His Hound" by Thomas Frederick Young
He raised the rifle to his eye,
And from the cliffs around
A sudden echo, shrill and sharp,
Gave back its deadly sound.
"The White-Footed Deer" by William Cullen Bryant
The cottage dame forbade her son
To aim the rifle here;
"It were a sin," she said, "to harm
Or fright that friendly deer.
"The White-Footed Deer" by William Cullen Bryant
And nothing they saw in the dim grey light,
But the little glow in the trees;
And they crouched in the tall cold grass all night,
Each one ready to shoot at sight,
With his rifle cocked on his knees.
"The Death Of Ben Hall" by William Henry Ogilvie
They saw but as they came sweeping onward, wave on wave,
The Rifles on the slope and the guns along the height,
But on the hollow hill, the bravest of the brave,
Grim and stern and still, waited eager for the fight.
"Basaco" by Cicely Fox Smith

In news:

Chalk up another one for the National Rifle Association (NRA).
1 Rifle Looks To Stay Undefeated Against No.
1 Rifle will look to stay on top as it hosts No.
We're 3-D printing assault rifles and fetuses.
Early in the morning on Friday, Sept 24, FBI agents in Chicago and Minnesota's Twin Cities kicked in the doors of anti-war activists, brandishing guns, spending hours rifling through their homes.
Over the weekend Right wing Republican rocker Ted Nugent got the attention of the Secret Service with an anti-Obama rant while at the National Rifle Association convention in St Louis.
Amarillo couple's daughter-in-law wins rifle gold.
It's an embarrassment to say that I've never been a good shot with a rifle and I come from Washington County.
Ted Nugent, rock star and Mitt Romney supporter, stirred up controversy during an interview at the National Rifle Assn.
Nelson Harvey Special to the Citizen Telegram Rifle, Colorado CO.
Thousands of deer are dying, and rifle season hasn't even started.
An assault rifle, semiautomatic pistols, ammo and other stuff seized in the arrest of ten alleged members of the drug cartel "Los Zetas", are presented to the press in Monterrey, Mexico, on February 9, 2012.
That is true of handguns, but the minimum age for purchases of rifles and shotguns from licensed dealers is 18.
World War II re-enactor Gary Miller of Robesonia cleans a rifle Sunday at Womelsdorf Park.
The Hokies' rifle-armed quarterback is leaving a trail of teammates suffering from damaged digits.

In science:

There have been many published articles in hunting magazines about the results of testing rifle and muzzleloader bullets in deer.
A method for testing handgun bullets in deer
The Triton Quik-Shok load can work as well as many rifle loads for broadside placement, because it transfers energy much more completely than many rifle loads.
A method for testing handgun bullets in deer
Figure 2: Two .308 caliber rifle bullets (150 grain on left, 110 grain on right) shown with a cotton cleaning patch used to assure snug fit between the .308” outer bullet diameter and the .357” inner diameter of the orange plastic sabot.
A method for testing bullets at reduced velocity