MooT Question Icon
What three-syllable phrase was shortened to coin the word riff-raff?

Etymology, Etymology, and more Etymology
as well as grammar, usage, euphemism, slang, jargon, semantics, linguistics, neologism, idiom, cant, and argot.

A picture of a moot game

The critically-acclaimed board game MooT
consists of tough questions about the nuances of the English language.
To join our mailing list and get
free brain-twisting MooT questions sent to you irregularly,
enter your email address and then press submit.

E-Mail address:

Back to home page

Answer: riff and raff

Disreputable or undesirable persons are riff-raff; the word derives from the French ne rifle, ne rafle, nothing at all.

Copyright 1998-2009 Blair Arts Ltd. All rights reserved.