Definition of riffraff in US English:



  • Disreputable or undesirable people.

    ‘I don't think they talk to riffraff off the street’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You hang around with riff-raff like the Weasleys and that Hagrid and it'll rub off on you.’
    • ‘Let us not mind the drug dealers, the pimps, and the other riff-raff who hang around that sordid industry.’
    • ‘Daemon seated himself as inconspicuously as possible while his shipmates mingled raucously with the riff-raff that populated the bar.’
    • ‘There are hit men, murderers, philanderers, thieves, betrayers, and other assorted riff-raff.’
    • ‘But people who were pointing this out were Leftists, Crypto-Communists and other 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.’
    • ‘Apparently, the idea is to keep out the non-technical riff-raff.’
    • ‘They let in all sorts of riff-raff here, don't they?’
    • ‘The reason that we bought these seats is because we don't want to be bothered with the general riff-raff.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Chauffeured around town in a pink Rolls Royce, he takes over entire restaurants to avoid encountering riff-raff.’
    • ‘Those who can afford expensive private preschools often don't want to see them filled with middle-class riff-raff.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘I agree,’ The Duke said nastily, ‘it seems they will just let any old riff-raff into places these days.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They were supposed to keep the nearby city's riff-raff out and the good, wholesome and hardworking college students like myself in.’
    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.