Definition of rife in English:



  • 1[predicative] (especially of something undesirable) of common occurrence; widespread.

    ‘male chauvinism was rife in medicine’
    • ‘Worldwide obesity is so rife that it represents an evolutionary shift in human body shape, an expert said yesterday.’
    • ‘Unemployment was rife and the blood collection centres were magnets for the unemployed and the down and outs.’
    • ‘That speculation, which is rife in the tea-rooms of the House of Commons, is - in truth - way off the mark.’
    • ‘Speculation is already rife in the Scottish arts world about the kind of impact Boyle may have.’
    • ‘With identity theft so rife, it would be too easy for imposters to hack accounts.’
    • ‘Street lights fail to work, litter is strewn everywhere, vandalism is rife, and adolescents roam the streets aimlessly.’
    • ‘However, speculation remains rife that the money generated will be used to fund redundancies this summer.’
    • ‘It is commonly agreed that corruption and nepotism is rife within the court system.’
    • ‘TB was also rife and I knew some nurses who went down with it.’
    • ‘Speculation is rife about whom John Kerry will choose as his running mate.’
    • ‘Health standards declined, malnutrition spread, scabies was rife, and that summer there was a typhoid epidemic.’
    • ‘The social and economic cancer of corruption is rife throughout the continent.’
    • ‘Cultural backwardness is rife in America, but nowhere so pervasively as in small cities and towns.’
    • ‘This is an epidemic that is devastating the world and serves as a spotlight on the inequalities that are rife throughout the global economy.’
    • ‘There is no substance in the allegation that unlawful access of phone lines is rife or commonplace.’
    • ‘He points to the UK where, despite a generally prudish approach, underage pregnancies are rife.’
    • ‘Spyware is rife and virus infection commonplace yet many home users reckon they are safe from online threats.’
    • ‘Sexual harassment is rife, and more women are being jailed.’
    • ‘Rumours have been rife about the emotional health of the sensitive actress, who started in films at 14.’
    • ‘Disease is rife and diet related illnesses such as scurvy are evident everywhere.’
    widespread, general, common, universal, extensive, ubiquitous, global, omnipresent, everywhere, present everywhere, pandemic, epidemic, endemic, inescapable, insidious, prevalent, penetrating, pervading, pervasive, permeating, immanent
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    1. 1.1Full of.
      ‘the streets were rife with rumour and fear’
      • ‘The web is rife with intellectual property theft, and it pays to protect your brand by registering trademarks and appropriate domains.’
      • ‘Rather, he revels in confounding his audience and the media, cultivating a persona rife with contradictions.’
      • ‘They have a soothing influence on a world rife with tension.’
      • ‘As for your position, I find it rife with contradictions.’
      • ‘Many civilians will claim the judiciary, like the rest of the government, is rife with corruption.’
      • ‘But as trading standards officers in York revealed this week, it's a national pastime rife with hidden dangers.’
      • ‘The Justice Project study paints an overall picture of a death penalty system rife with error.’
      • ‘Johannesburg has never seemed more spectacular, beautiful and uncomfortable - and rife with possibilities.’
      • ‘It looks like a body that can't get things done, an organization that is rife with cronyism and lobbyists' money.’
      • ‘Edmonton has a vibrant, happening entertainment scene, rife with talent.’
      • ‘Rugby in South Africa is one of the last bastions of the white man, and still rife with racism.’
      • ‘His regime is rife with corruption and massive channelling of public funds into private pockets.’
      • ‘Although the area is rife with archaeological finds spanning millennia, neglect has deterred visitors.’
      • ‘Kept secret at first, the list was made public by a court order, and was quickly discovered to be rife with errors.’
      • ‘Research has shown, however, that recall is unreliable and rife with inaccuracies and biases.’
      • ‘Relationships often come to feel like obligations, burdens, rife with the possibility of self-sacrifice.’
      • ‘Mitchelstown was rife with rumours yesterday of an impending announcement.’
      • ‘In a region rife with conflict, the iron sport offers a positive road to self-improvement and enlightenment.’
      • ‘The American media is rife with rumours that the King of Pop will skip the country as soon as he is free.’
      • ‘It is a town rife with corruption, from city hall on down, and teeming with houses of ill repute.’
      overflowing, bursting, alive, swarming, teeming, seething, lousy
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  • In an unchecked or widespread manner.

    ‘speculation ran rife that he was an arms dealer’
    • ‘Speculation has run rife on all sorts of mad theories about who will get up in each state.’
    • ‘Rumours ran wild and rife but the band would not play together again until 1993.’


Late Old English rȳfe, probably from Old Norse rīfr acceptable.