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rid·dle1 / ˈridl/ • n. a question or statement intentionally phrased so as to require ingenuity in ascertaining its answer or meaning, typically presented as a game. ∎  a person, event, or fact that is difficult to understand or explain: the riddle of her death. • v. [intr.] archaic speak in or pose riddles: he who knows not how to riddle. ∎  solve or explain (a riddle) to (someone): riddle me this then. PHRASES: talk (or speak) in riddles express oneself in an ambiguous or puzzling manner.DERIVATIVES: rid·dler / ˈridlər; ˈridl-ər/ n. rid·dle2 • v. [tr.] 1. (usu. be riddled) make many holes in (someone or something), esp. with gunshot: his car was riddled by sniper fire. ∎  fill or permeate (someone or something), esp. with something unpleasant or undesirable: the existing law is riddled with loopholes. 2. pass (a substance) through a large coarse sieve: for final potting, the soil mixture is not riddled. ∎  remove ashes or other unwanted material from (something, esp. a fire or stove) in such a way. • n. a large coarse sieve, esp. one used for separating ashes from cinders or sand from gravel.

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riddleaddle, paddle, saddle, skedaddle, staddle, straddle •candle, Coromandel, dandle, Handel, handle, mishandle, Randall, sandal, scandal, vandal •manhandle, panhandle •packsaddle • side-saddle •backpedal, heddle, medal, meddle, pedal, peddle, treadle •Grendel, Kendall, Lendl, Mendel, Rendell, sendal, Wendell •cradle, ladle •beadle, bipedal, credal, needle, wheedle •diddle, fiddle, griddle, kiddle, Liddell, middle, piddle, riddle, twiddle •brindle, dwindle, kindle, spindle, swindle, Tyndale •paradiddle, taradiddle •pyramidal • apsidal •bridal, bridle, fratricidal, genocidal, germicidal, homicidal, idle, idol, infanticidal, insecticidal, intertidal, matricidal, parricidal, patricidal, pesticidal, regicidal, sidle, suicidal, tidal, tyrannicidal, uxoricidal •coddle, doddle, model, noddle, swaddle, toddle, twaddle, waddle •fondle, rondel •mollycoddle •caudal, chordal, dawdle •poundal, roundel •Gödel, modal, yodel •crinoidal •boodle, caboodle, canoodle, doodle, feudal, noodle, poodle, strudel, udal •befuddle, cuddle, fuddle, huddle, muddle, puddle, ruddle •bundle, trundle •prebendal • synodal •antipodal, tripodal •citadel •curdle, engirdle, girdle, hurdle •dirndl

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riddle1 puzzling or dark utterance, enigma. OE. rǣdels, rǣdelse opinion, riddle, corr. to OS. rādisli, rādislo (Du. raadsel), OHG. rādisle (G. rätsel); f. *rædan READ; see -LE1.
Hence riddle vb.1 speak in riddles; solve a riddle. XVI; whence riddlemeree XVIII, fanciful var. of riddle my rede or riddle.

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riddle2 coarse-meshed sieve. Late OE. hriddel, rel. to synon. hrīder and hrīdrian sift, of WGmc. extent and based on IE. *krǐ- with widespread cogns., as in Gr. krī́nein separate, decide, L. crībrum sieve, in Gmc. *χrain- clean, pure (e.g. G. rein), etc.
Hence riddle vb.2 †sift XIII; pierce with holes XIX.

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riddle a question or statement intentionally phrased so as to require ingenuity in ascertaining its answer or meaning, typically presented as a game. The word is recorded from Old English (in form rǣdels(e)) ‘opinion, conjecture, riddle’.