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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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(design engineering)
A sieve used for sizing or for removing foreign material from foundry sand or other granular materials.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A sieve, esp. a coarse one for sand.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a sieve, esp a coarse one used for sand, grain, etc.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
I was dubbed the Riddler, so the rest of the group had to have nicknames too.
Asked if any actor playing the Riddler would struggle to match Ledger's performance, Caine added: "Yeah.
Trivia: Destroyed by Riddler with a sack full of explosives in its cockpit
The first of those came in something of a messy race at Beverley, in which The Riddler rather had the run of the race before getting edged out by Keenes Day.
"(This) solution was chosen for efficiency of the riddling: a small footprint in a building, 24/7 riddling process and speed of riddling at high quality." He qualifies the advantage of this choice: speed, and no need to train a team of riddlers. Recruiting trained riddlers was a problem; Weyrich also notes that hand riddling creates a risk for carpal tunnel injuries.
Despite dozens of television and movie credits, Gorshin will be forever remembered for his role as The Riddler, Adam West's villainous foil in the question mark-pocked green suit and bowler hat on Batman from 1966-69.
Add the addled Riddler (gay!) and the black-leathered Julie Newmar Catwoman (gay!
Alessandro Tiburzi, wearing the same green tights and mad shock of fake red hair (prefiguring The Riddler from Batman), was sincere, but did not prance and flit with Di Cosmo's convincing lightheartedness.
The Dark Knight of Arkansas fighting a never-ending battle against Bob Dole (Two Face) and Newt Gingrich (The Riddler).
Cory Michael Smith, who plays The Riddler in the Batman prequel series 'Gotham,' has come out as gay while promoting the film '1985,' about a homosexual man who is suffering from AIDS, and has to come home to a conservative family.
This is what Taylor told (http://tvline.com/2018/03/07/gotham-season-4-preview-robin-lord-taylor-penguin-jerome-riddler/) TV Line about Penguin and the Riddler's constantly evolving storyline.
New details unveiled about the Yas Island project indicate that DC fans will be able to hitch a ride aboard the Batmobile and challenge the Caped Crusader's archenemies, including The Joker, The Riddler, Scarecrow, Catwoman and Harley Quinn through interactive rides.