From Middle English riches, plural of riche (“power, wealth”), from Old English rīċe (“power, authority, dominion”). Confused with Middle English richesse (“wealth”), from Old French richesse, from riche (“rich, wealthy”), of Germanic origin, from Frankish rīki (“rich”) from Proto-Germanic *rīkijaz (“rich, powerful”), from Proto-Indo-European *reg- (“to straighten, direct, make right”). Akin to Old High German rīhhi (“rich”) (German reich (“rich”)), Old English rīċe (“rich”), Old English racu (“explanation, reasoning”). More at rich.
riches pl (plural only)
- Money, goods, wealth, treasure.
- 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene ii], page 12:
- Cal. […] Sometimes a thouſand twangling Inſtruments
Will hum about mine eares ; and ſometime voices,
That if I then had wak'd after long ſleepe,
Will make me ſleepe againe, and then in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and ſhew riches
Ready to drop vpon me, that when I wak'd
I cri'de to dreame againe.
- (figuratively) An abundance of anything desirable.
- See also Thesaurus:wealth