Definition of riffraff in US English:



  • Disreputable or undesirable people.

    ‘I don't think they talk to riffraff off the street’
    • ‘They let in all sorts of riff-raff here, don't they?’
    • ‘‘I agree,’ The Duke said nastily, ‘it seems they will just let any old riff-raff into places these days.’’
    • ‘The police are trying their best, but all they can do is make nightly raids on the underworld and round up Dusseldorf's riff-raff.’
    • ‘There are hit men, murderers, philanderers, thieves, betrayers, and other assorted riff-raff.’
    • ‘With the right clientele this is not a problem but if the management is only interested in keeping the tills ringing and letting any old riff-raff through the doors it is asking for trouble.’
    • ‘Those who can afford expensive private preschools often don't want to see them filled with middle-class riff-raff.’
    • ‘Let us not mind the drug dealers, the pimps, and the other riff-raff who hang around that sordid industry.’
    • ‘Kripal Singh told me that the government agencies had been creating many armed vigilante groups out of anti-social riff-raff, so as to infiltrate and neutralize genuine militant outfits.’
    • ‘Pete Wishart, who sits for the SNP, felt the decision should lie with members of the Scottish parliament, and not with government riff-raff down south.’
    • ‘But people who were pointing this out were Leftists, Crypto-Communists and other riff-raff.’
    • ‘Apparently, the idea is to keep out the non-technical riff-raff.’
    • ‘The reason that we bought these seats is because we don't want to be bothered with the general riff-raff.’
    • ‘I'm so glad I'm an independent so that I don't have to be associated with the soiled riff-raff who actually have to win elections and govern in this country.’
    • ‘They were supposed to keep the nearby city's riff-raff out and the good, wholesome and hardworking college students like myself in.’
    • ‘That they happen to clean up a lot of the town's riff-raff is simply an added bonus.’
    • ‘Bishop invited a lot of riff-raff, and they brought their friends.’
    • ‘Daemon seated himself as inconspicuously as possible while his shipmates mingled raucously with the riff-raff that populated the bar.’
    • ‘While I think programs and materials for the gifted are fine and good, I worry about meetings like this in which the dominant sentiment is that the only way to educate the gifted is to remove them from the company of mere mortal riff-raff.’
    • ‘Chauffeured around town in a pink Rolls Royce, he takes over entire restaurants to avoid encountering riff-raff.’
    • ‘You hang around with riff-raff like the Weasleys and that Hagrid and it'll rub off on you.’
    rabble, scum, refuse, garbage, rubbish, trash, vermin, the lowest of the low, in the underclass, the dregs of society, good-for-nothings, undesirables
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Late 15th century (as riff and raff): from Old French rif et raf ‘one and all, every bit’, of Germanic origin.