From Middle English rife, from Old English rīfe, rȳfe (“rife, abundant, frequent”), from Proto-Germanic *rībaz (“generous”), from Proto-Indo-European *reyp- (“to tear (off), rip”). Cognate with West Frisian rju (“rife, much”), Low German rive (“abundant, munificent”), Dutch rijf (“abundant, copious”), Icelandic rífr (“rife, munificent”), Icelandic reifa (“to bestow”).
- Widespread, common, prevalent, current (mainly of unpleasant or harmful things).
- Smallpox was rife after the siege had been lifted.
- Before the plague of London, inflammations of the lungs were rife and mortal.
- The tumult of loud mirth was rife.
- 1900, Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, Avon Books, (translated by James Strachey) pg. 170:
- The 'denominational considerations' mentioned below relate, of course, to anti-Semitic feeling, which was already rife in Vienna during the last years of the nineteenth century.
- Abounding; present in large numbers, plentiful.
- These woodlands are rife with red deer.
- Watermelons are rife with seeds.
- Full of (mostly unpleasant or harmful things).
- Many post-colonial governments were rife with lawlessness and corruption.
- 2013, Daniel Taylor, Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic climbs highest to sink Benfica (in The Guardian, 15 May 2013)
- They will have to reflect on a seventh successive defeat in a European final while Chelsea try to make sense of an eccentric season rife with controversy and bad feeling but once again one finishing on an exhilarating high.
- (obsolete) Having power; active; nimble.
- J. Webster
- What! I am rife a little yet.
- J. Webster
- (widespread): pandemic, ubiquitous; see also Thesaurus:widespread
- (abounding, plentiful): filled; see also Thesaurus:plentiful