Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to rifle

air-rifle (n.)
rifle that uses compressed air power to fire the projectile, 1851, from air (n.1) + rifle (n.).
Advertisement
riffraff (n.)

also riff-raff, late 15c., "persons of disreputable character or low degree," from earlier rif and raf (Anglo-French rif et raf) "one and all, everybody; every scrap, everything," also "sweepings, refuse, things of small value" (mid-14c.), from Old French rif et raf, from rifler "to spoil, strip" (see rifle (v.)). Second element from raffler "carry off," related to rafle "plundering," or from raffer "to snatch, to sweep together" (see raffle (n.)); the word presumably made more for suggestive half-rhyming alliteration than for sense.

The meaning "refuse, scum, or rabble of a community" is by 1540s. In 15c. collections of terms of association, a group of young men or boys was a raffle of knaves.

rifleman (n.)

"man armed with a rifle, one skilled in shooting with a rifle," 1775, from rifle (n.) + man (n.). Formerly also a military designation of a soldier armed with a rifle (when most of the infantry carried muskets).

shotgun (n.)

1821, American English, from shot (n.) in the sense of "lead in small pellets" (1770) + gun (n.). As distinguished from a rifle, which fires bullets. Shotgun wedding is attested by 1903, American English. To ride shotgun is by 1905, from custom of having an armed man beside the driver on the stagecoach in the Old West to ward off trouble.