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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.
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 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 ?
However, Amuka (1994:13) notes that grandmothers, guiding a riddling session, might also touch on matters considered as adult content in the presence of children for teaching/learning purposes.
Burns (1976:143-5) shows six occasions for riddling: riddling embedded in songs and narratives, in courting, in rituals like death and initiation, in educational encounters, riddling in leisure time and in greetings.
Hence, riddling sessionsmay also serve as a part of passing knowledge to the young through entertainment, because riddles as educational devices exercise, train the mind, impart cultural values and attitudes, teach dominance and submission roles, and promoting group cohesion and unity (Burns, 1976:139).
In the evening at home we [the siblings] come together and play riddling with each other as well as listening to stories from our parents.
These disciplinary regimes mean that at home, as I shall discuss further below, children share storytelling with their parents, but perform riddling only with their siblings.
The riddle of Lot and Eubulus's pieces may suffice to show how the sexual riddle form, which largely derives from folk culture, has usually made its way through literary riddling from antiquity.
Given this new cultural environment, it seems reasonable that almost no trace of erotic or bawdy riddling has been recorded by scholarship in the early medieval period.
Some Comments on Riddling and Related Poetic Devices in Classical Sanskrit," does not attempt the sort of "existential" connections that are made by others - Hasan-Rokem, Stein, and Shulman.
180) - involving the imagery and philosophy of Yoga, Tantra, and Natha practices - not out of any desire to display their wit and verbal dexterity, which are, according to Ramanujan, the hallmarks of riddling.
Our Buyer's Guide does not have a category for riddling machines, and we were unable to locate any other U.
Since riddling is simply a clarification process, there is no quality difference in hand-riddled or machine-riddled wines with regard to sensory concerns or ageability.
A discussion of this type of visual conceit in riddling can be found in Andrew Welsh, The Roots of Lyric (Princeton U.