See also: Rife and rifé

English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English rife, from Old English rīfe, rȳfe (rife, abundant, frequent), from Proto-West Germanic *rīb, from Proto-Germanic *rībaz (generous), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁reyp- (to tear (off), rip). Cognate with West Frisian rju (rife, much), Dutch rijf (abundant, copious), Low German rive (abundant, munificent), Icelandic rífur (rife, munificent), Faroese ríviligur (plentiful, abundant), Faroese rívan (abundantly), Icelandic reifa (to bestow).

Pronunciation edit

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɹaɪf/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪf

Adjective edit

rife (comparative rifer, superlative rifest)

  1. Widespread, common, prevalent, current (mainly of unpleasant or harmful things).
    Smallpox was rife after the siege had been lifted.
    • 1712, John Arbuthnot, An Essay Concerning the Effects of Air on Human Bodies:
      Before the plague of London, inflammations of the lungs were rife and mortal.
    • 1634 October 9 (first performance), [John Milton], edited by H[enry] Lawes, A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634: [] [Comus], London: [] [Augustine Matthews] for Hvmphrey Robinson, [], published 1637, →OCLC; reprinted as Comus: [] (Dodd, Mead & Company’s Facsimile Reprints of Rare Books; Literature Series; no. I), New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1903, →OCLC:
      The tumult of loud mirth was rife.
    • 1828, James Hogg, Mary Burnet:
      She was afterwards Lady Keith; and the mention of this name in the tale, as it were by mere accident, fixes the era of it in the reign of James the Fourth, at the very time that fairies, brownies, and witches, were at the rifest in Scotland.
    • 1900, Sigmund Freud, translated by James Strachey, The Interpretation of Dreams: Avon Books, page 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.
    • 1964 May, R. K. Evans, “The Ventura—Paxman's high-speed engine”, in Modern Railways, page 329:
      BRB engineers, it is known, have a warm regard for the Ventura range and speculation is rife that it may feature more widely in future BR dieselisation programmes.
  2. Abounding; present in large numbers, plentiful.
    Red deer are rife in these woodlands.
    Seeds are rife in a watermelon.
  3. Full of (mostly unpleasant or harmful things).
    Many post-colonial governments were rife with lawlessness and corruption.
    • 2013 May 15, Daniel Taylor, The Guardian[1]:
      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.
  4. (obsolete) Having power; active; nimble.

Synonyms edit

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

Adverb edit

rife (comparative more rife, superlative most rife)

  1. Plentifully, abundantly.
    The snowdrops grow rife on the slopes of Mount Pembroke.

Translations edit

Anagrams edit

Galician edit

Verb edit

rife

  1. inflection of rifar:
    1. first/third-person singular present subjunctive
    2. third-person singular imperative

Spanish edit

Verb edit

rife

  1. inflection of rifar:
    1. first/third-person singular present subjunctive
    2. third-person singular imperative