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a. A firearm with a spirally grooved bore, designed to be fired from the shoulder.
b. An artillery piece or naval gun with a spirally grooved bore.
2. rifles Troops armed with rifles.
tr.v. ri·fled, ri·fling, ri·fles
To cut spiral grooves within (a gun barrel, for example).
[Short for rifle gun, rifled gun, from rifle, to cut spiral grooves in, from French rifler, to scratch, from Middle French, from Old French; see rifle2.]
v. ri·fled, ri·fling, ri·fles
1. To search (an area or container, for example) thoroughly, especially using the hands with the intent to steal or remove something: rifled the desk, looking for the keys.
2. To rob or search with the intent to rob: rifled the travelers of their belongings.
3. To steal (goods).
To search vigorously: rifling through my drawers to find matching socks.
[Middle English riflen, to plunder, from Middle French rifler, from Old French rifler, to scratch, brush up against, from Old High German riffilōn, to scrape, scratch; akin to Old Norse rīfa, to rive.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.