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See also: Rife and rifé




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).


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


rife (comparative rifer, superlative rifest)

  1. Widespread, common (especially of unpleasant or harmful things).
    Smallpox was rife after the siege had been lifted.
    • Arbuthnot
      Before the plague of London, inflammations of the lungs were rife and mortal.
    • Milton
      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.
    • 2013, Daniel Taylor, Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic climbs highest to sink Benfica (in The Guardian, 15 May 2013)[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.
  2. Abounding; present in large numbers, plentiful.
    These woodlands are rife with red deer.
  3. (obsolete) Having power; active; nimble.
    • J. Webster
      What! I am rife a little yet.


  • (abounding, plentiful): filled



rife (comparative more rife, superlative most rife)

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






  1. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of rifar.
  2. Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of rifar.
  3. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of rifar.