• A verbal puzzle, mystery, or other problem of an intellectual nature.
  • An ancient verbal, poetic, or literary form, in which, rather than a rhyme scheme, there are parallel opposing expressions with a hidden meaning.
  • A sieve with coarse meshes, usually of wire, for separating coarser materials from finer, as chaff from grain, cinders from ashes, or gravel from sand.
  • A board with a row of pins, set zigzag, between which wire is drawn to straighten it.
  • A curtain; bedcurtain.
  • One of the pair of curtains enclosing an altar on the north and south.


  • To speak ambiguously or enigmatically.
  • To solve, answer, or explicate a riddle or question.
  • To put something through a riddle or sieve, to sieve, to sift.
  • To fill with holes like a riddle.
  • To fill or spread throughout; to pervade.
  • To plait.


  • From Middle English redel, redels, from Old English rǣdels, rǣdelse, from Proto-West Germanic *rādislī. Analyzable as rede + -le. Akin to Old English rǣdan ("to read, advise, interpret").
  • From Middle English riddil, ridelle, from Old English hriddel ("sieve"), alteration of earlier hridder, hrīder, from Proto-West Germanic *hrīdrā, from Proto-Germanic *hrīdrą, *hrīdrǭ, from Proto-Germanic *hrid- ("to shake"), from Proto-Indo-European *krey-. Akin to German Reiter ("sieve"), Old Norse hreinn ("pure, clean"), Old High German hreini ("pure, clean"), Gothic 𐌷𐍂𐌰𐌹𐌽𐍃 ("clean, pure"). More at rinse.
  • , from rider, from Old High German rīdan ("to turn; wrap; twist; wrinkle"). More at writhe. Doublet of rideau.
  • From Middle English ridlen, from the noun (see above).

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