Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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-RIFE, suff. Also -rif(f). [-rəif, -rɪf]

1. Added to a noun to form the adj. or adv. with cognate meaning: having an abundance of, notable for, given over to, liable or susceptible to, where -rife retains much of its orig. meaning (see Rife, adj., 1.), as in Cauldrife, flichtrife (Flicht, n.1, 1.), ¶leekrife (Leek), meatrife (Meat, n., 2.), playrife (Play, n., 1.), Salerife, ¶steelrife (Steel), thankrife (Thank), warkrife (Wark). The rare form toothrife (Tuith) has the meaning toothsome, palatable.

2. Added to a verb with the meaning liable to, likely to, having a tendency to, as in mockrife (Mock), sellrif (Sell), spendrife (Spend), waukrife (Wauk), wastrife (Waste). Spendrife and wastrife are also used as nouns meaning a spendthrift and extravagance respectively.

3. Added to an adj. with an intensive force or simply pleonastically, as in ¶Auldrife, Coolrife, sickrife (Seeck), wildrif (Wild).

[O.Sc. has coldrife, a.1682, sailrife, covered with sailing ships, 1513, walkryfe, 1480. N.E.D. assumes that the suff. was added orig. to nouns only but this is doubtful certainly in the case of walkryfe. It will be noticed however that the usage develops after 1700 and that not a few of the examples are nonce or liter. formations.]

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"-rife suffix". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Aug 2021 <>



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