(redirected from riddles)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms.


puzzling question, specifically one that consists of a fanciful description or definition of something to be guessed. A famous riddle was asked by the Sphinx: "What goes on four legs in the morning, on two at noon, on three at night?" OedipusOedipus
, in Greek legend, son of Laius, king of Thebes, and his wife, Jocasta. Laius had been warned by an oracle that he was fated to be killed by his own son; he therefore abandoned Oedipus on a mountainside.
..... Click the link for more information.
 guessed the answer correctly: "Man—in infancy he crawls, at his prime he walks, in age he leans on a staff." Samson's riddle is also famous: "Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness" (Judges 14.14). It refers to a lion he had just killed, on which he saw bees and honey; he ate some of the lion and the honey. Punning riddles are common, as: "When is a door not a door?" The answer is, "When it's ajar." There is comparatively little riddle literature, but riddles do figure prominently in Old English. The Exeter Book contains many English verse riddles of uncertain date; they vary considerably in matter. There are also many riddles in Latin hexameters dating from Anglo-Saxon England.


See A. Taylor, English Riddles from Oral Tradition (1951); H. H. Abbott, ed., The Riddles of the Exeter Book (1968).



a genre of folk poetry common to all nations; the poetic, often metaphorical description of an object or occurrence.

In antiquity the riddle had religious significance and pertained to popular superstitions and rites that prohibited calling objects by their names. With time the riddle acquired predominantly aesthetic and cognitive importance. It began serving as a test of wit. Riddles are distinguished by the variety of themes and wealth of artistic devices; inherent in them are compositional precision, rhyme, rhythm, and sound effects. Riddles often contain a humorous element that has social significance—for example, “The priest is short, the vestments many” (a cabbage: Stoit pop nizok, na nem sto rizok). Riddles have been widely incorporated into other genres of folklore, as well as into literature.


Anikin, V. P. Russkie narodnye poslovitsy, zagadki i detskiifol’klor. Moscow, 1957.
Mitrofanova, V. “Sovremennoe sostoianie russkikh narodnykh zagadok.” In the collection Sovremennyi russkiifol’klor. Moscow, 1966.
Mitrofanova, V. Zagadki. Moscow, 1968.


(design engineering)
A sieve used for sizing or for removing foreign material from foundry sand or other granular materials.


A sieve, esp. a coarse one for sand.


a sieve, esp a coarse one used for sand, grain, etc.
References in periodicals archive ?
PUPILS at Stonehusrt Lodge School in Mountsorrel have been keeping busy raising money for charity and creating their own outdoor riddle trail.
The theme of the 2015 campaign is "What Happens Next", with "The Amazing World of Gumball" -- Cartoon Network's original series -- featuring as the cartoon through which the answers can be found, and the riddles solved.
Many books lay out the complexities and unsolved riddles of quantum theory, she says, but she offers some specific solutions to those riddles.
In short, riddles are "a truer representation of the nature of reality than simple declarative statements [.
Mchongoano as a performed discourse, has not received sufficient scholarly attention; scholars have neglected it, "lest they soil their hands with the 'filth' therein" (Githinji, 2007:98), yet there are other studies are Githinji (2006a) and Kihara & Schroder (2012), but to the best of my knowledge, I am not aware of any research comparing mchongoano with riddles.
29 ( ANI ): Facebook users have to change their profile pictures to a giraffe if they fail to solve a riddle shared on the social networking site.
3) Not only do the Latin enigmas share with the Old English riddles an interest in scribal implements and activities, but they similarly make use of prosopopoeia--the rhetorical device through which objects and nonhuman creatures are given speech.
This time, the lighthearted illustrations of Tayona bring 57 riddles to life.
Then, I analyse adults' and children's perspectives on the place and time of riddling; riddling as a discrete practice for children; the way in which children perform riddling; and the various forms of children's riddles among Guji people.
In Peru's Andean culture, riddles (watuchi in Quechua) follow a very specific ritual (Lara, 2008).
The riddles will be produced by Egyptian producer Tareq Nour and will be aired on the Egyptian television channel "Al Qahirah wal Naas".
From brain teasers to head-scratching riddles, Carrie Brown has made a good attempt at presenting riddles and jokes which are morally clean and normally simple enough for older children and adults to enjoy.