riddle

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search
See also: Riddle

English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English redel, redels, from Old English rǣdels, rǣdelse(counsel", "opinion", "imagination", "riddle), from Proto-Germanic *rēdisliją(counsel, conjecture). Akin to Old Saxon rādisli, rādislo, rēdilsa (Low German Radels, Dutch raadsel), Old High German rātisla (German Rätsel(riddle)), Old English rǣdan(to read, advise, interpret).

Noun[edit]

riddle ‎(plural riddles)

  1. A verbal puzzle, mystery, or other problem of an intellectual nature.
    Here's a riddle: It's black, and white, and red all over. What is it?
    • John Milton (1608-1674)
      To wring from me, and tell to them, my secret, / That solved the riddle which I had proposed.
    • 1907, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, “chapter VIII”, in The Younger Set (Project Gutenberg; EBook #14852), New York, N.Y.: A. L. Burt Company, published 1 February 2005 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 4241346:
      Elbows almost touching they leaned at ease, idly reading the almost obliterated lines engraved there. ¶ "I never understood it," she observed, lightly scornful. "What occult meaning has a sun-dial for the spooney? I'm sure I don't want to read riddles in a strange gentleman's optics."
  2. An ancient verbal, poetic, or literary form, in which, rather than a rhyme scheme, there are parallel opposing expressions with a hidden meaning.
    Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. (Luke 17:33)
    Keep sharpening the blade, you'll soon blunt it. (Lau Tsu, Tao Te Ching 9)
Synonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

riddle ‎(third-person singular simple present riddles, present participle riddling, simple past and past participle riddled)

  1. To speak ambiguously or enigmatically.
  2. (transitive) To solve, answer, or explicate a riddle or question
    Riddle me this, meaning Answer the following question.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English riddil, ridelle(sieve), from Old English hriddel(sieve), alteration of earlier hridder, hrīder, from Proto-Germanic *hridą(sieve), from Proto-Germanic *hrid-(to shake), from Proto-Indo-European *krey-. Akin to German Reiter(sieve), Old Norse hreinn(pure, clean), Old High German hreini(pure, clean), Gothic 𐌷𐍂𐌰𐌹𐌽𐍃(hrains, clean, pure). More at rinse.

Noun[edit]

riddle ‎(plural riddles)

  1. A sieve with coarse meshes, usually of wire, for separating coarser materials from finer, as chaff from grain, cinders from ashes, or gravel from sand.
  2. A board with a row of pins, set zigzag, between which wire is drawn to straighten it.
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

riddle ‎(third-person singular simple present riddles, present participle riddling, simple past and past participle riddled)

  1. To put something through a riddle or sieve, to sieve, to sift.
    You have to riddle the gravel before you lay it on the road.
    • 2014 April 8, Helen Yemm, “Thorny problems: How can I revive a forsythia hedge? [print version 5 April 2014, p. G9]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Gardening)[1], London:
      In its finest form – two years old or more – leaf mould can be riddled (sieved) and used, mixed 50/50 with sand, to make fine potting compost for seeds and cuttings.
  2. To fill with holes like a riddle.
    The machinegun fire began to riddle the poor Afghanis.
  3. To fill or spread throughout; to pervade.
    Your argument is riddled with errors.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English riddel, ridel, redel, rudel, from Old French ridel ("a plaited stuff; curtain"; > Middle Latin ridellus), from rider(to wrinkle), from Old High German rīdan(to turn; wrap; twist; wrinkle), from Proto-Germanic *wrīþaną(to turn; wind). More at writhe. Doublet of rideau.

Noun[edit]

riddle ‎(plural riddles)

  1. (obsolete) A curtain; bed-curtain
  2. (religious) One of the pair of curtains enclosing an altar on the north and south

Etymology 4[edit]

From Middle English ridlen, from the noun (see above).

Verb[edit]

riddle ‎(third-person singular simple present riddles, present participle riddling, simple past and past participle riddled)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To plait

Anagrams[edit]