late 14c., "dice game," from Old French rafle "dice game," also "plundering," perhaps from a Germanic source (compare Middle Dutch raffel "dice game," Old Frisian hreppa "to move," Old Norse hreppa "to reach, get," Swedish rafs "rubbish," Old High German raspon "to scrape together, snatch up in haste," German raffen "to snatch away, sweep off"), from Proto-Germanic *khrap- "to pluck out, snatch off." The notion would be "to sweep up (the stakes), to snatch (the winnings)." Dietz connects the French word with the Germanic root, but OED is against this. Meaning "sale of chances" first recorded 1766.
"dispose of by raffle," 1851, from raffle (n.). Related: Raffled; raffling.
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