rapid (adj.) Look up rapid at Dictionary.com
1630s, "moving quickly," from French rapide (17c.) and directly from Latin rapidus "hasty, swift, rapid; snatching; fierce, impetuous," from rapere "hurry away, carry off, seize, plunder," from PIE root *rep- "to snatch" (cognates: Greek ereptomai "devour," harpazein "snatch away," Lithuanian raples "tongs"). Meaning "happening in a short time" is from 1780. Related: Rapidly; rapidness. Rapid-transit first attested 1852, in reference to street railways; rapid eye movement is from 1906.
rapidity (n.) Look up rapidity at Dictionary.com
1650s, from French rapidité and directly from Latin rapiditatem (nominative rapiditas) "swiftness, rapidity, velocity," from rapidus "hasty, swift, rapid" (see rapid).
rapids (n.) Look up rapids at Dictionary.com
1765, from French rapides (see rapid); applied by French voyagers to rough, swift-flowing reaches in North American rivers.
rapier (n.) Look up rapier at Dictionary.com
"light, sharp-pointed sword," 1550s, from Middle French rapière, from espee rapiere "long, pointed two-edged sword" (late 15c.), in which the adjective is of uncertain origin, perhaps from derisive use of raspiere "poker, scraper." Dutch, Danish rapier, German Rappier are from French.
rapine (n.) Look up rapine at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "plunder," from Middle French rapine (12c.), from Latin rapina "act of robbery, plundering, pillage," from rapere "seize, carry off, rob" (see rapid).
rapist (n.) Look up rapist at Dictionary.com
1883, agent noun from rape (v.).
rapparee (n.) Look up rapparee at Dictionary.com
"Irish freebooter," 1680s, originally "pikeman," from Irish rapairidhe, plural of rapaire "half-pike." Kind of soldier prominent in the war of 1688-92.
rappel (n.) Look up rappel at Dictionary.com
1931, "mountaineering technique for descending steep faces," from French rappel, literally "recall" (Old French rapel), from rapeler "to recall, summon" (see repeal (v.)). The same word had been borrowed earlier (1848) to mean "a drum roll to summon soldiers."
rappel (v.) Look up rappel at Dictionary.com
1957 in the mountaineering sense; see rappel (n.). Related: Rappeled; rappelling.
rapper (n.) Look up rapper at Dictionary.com
agent noun meaning "one who raps" in any sense (see rap (v.)). Before the hip-hpo performance sense emerged c.1979, it could mean "door-knocker" (1630s), "spirit-rapper" (1755), "professional perjurer" (1840), prison slang for "prosecutor" (1904), "itinerant antiques buyer," with a tinge of shadiness (1914). Rapster is from 1772.
rapping (n.) Look up rapping at Dictionary.com
c.1400, verbal noun from rap (v.1). Meaning "talking" is from 1969; meaning "rap music performance" is from 1979, from rap (v.2).
rapport (n.) Look up rapport at Dictionary.com
1660s, "reference, relation, relationship," from French rapport "bearing, yield, produce; harmony, agreement, intercourse," back-formation from rapporter "bring back; refer to," from re- "again" (see re-) + apporter "to bring," from Latin apportare "to bring," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + portare "to carry" (see port (n.1)).

Psychological meaning "intense harmonious accord," as between therapist and patient, is first attested 1894, though the word had been used in a very similar sense with reference to mesmerism from 1845 (first recorded in Poe). See also report (n.). Johnson frowns on the word and credits its use in English to Sir William Temple, naturalizer of French terms, who did use it but was not the first to do so.
rapportage (n.) Look up rapportage at Dictionary.com
"the describing of events in writing," 1903, from French rapportage, literally "tale-telling," from rapporter (see rapport).
rapporteur (n.) Look up rapporteur at Dictionary.com
c.1500, from French rapporteur "tell-tale, gossip; reporter," from rapporter (see report (n.)).
rapprochement (n.) Look up rapprochement at Dictionary.com
"establishment of cordial relations," 1809, from French rapprochement "reunion, reconciliation," literally "a bringing near," from rapprocher "bring near," from re- "back, again" (see re-) + aprochier (see approach (v.)).
rapscallion (n.) Look up rapscallion at Dictionary.com
1690s, alteration of rascallion (1640s), a fanciful elaboration of rascal (q.v.). It had a parallel in now-extinct rampallion (1590s), from Middle English ramp (n.2) "ill-behaved woman."
rapt (adj.) Look up rapt at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "carried away in an ecstatic trance," from Latin raptus, past participle of rapere "seize, carry off" (see rape (v.)). A figurative sense, the notion is of "carried up into Heaven (bodily or in a dream)," as in a saint's vision. Latin literal sense of "carried away" was in English from 1550s. In 15c.-17c. the word also sometimes could mean "raped." Sense of "engrossed" first recorded c.1500. As a past participle adjective, in English it spawned the back-formed verb rap "to affect with rapture," which was common c.1600-1750.
raptor (n.) Look up raptor at Dictionary.com
c.1600, "ravisher, abductor," from Latin raptor "a robber, plunderer, abductor, ravisher," agent noun from past participle stem of rapere "to seize" (see rapid). Ornithological use is from 1873 (1823 in Latin plural Raptores).
raptorial (adj.) Look up raptorial at Dictionary.com
"predatory," 1825, from raptor + -ial. Alternative raptatorial "predacious" (1840) is from Latin raptatus, past participle of raptare.
rapture (n.) Look up rapture at Dictionary.com
c.1600, "act of carrying off," from Middle French rapture, from Medieval Latin raptura "seizure, rape, kidnapping," from Latin raptus "a carrying off, abduction, snatching away; rape" (see rapt). Earliest attested use in English is of women and in 17c. it sometimes meant rape (v.), which word is a cognate of this. Sense of "spiritual ecstasy, state of mental transport" first recorded c.1600 (raptures).
rapture (v.) Look up rapture at Dictionary.com
1630s, from rapture (n.). Related: Raptured; rapturing.
rapturous (adj.) Look up rapturous at Dictionary.com
1670s, from rapture + -ous. Related: Rapturously (1660s).
rara avis (n.) Look up rara avis at Dictionary.com
c.1600, "peculiar person," from Latin rara avis, literally "strange bird," from rara, fem. of rarus "rare" (see rare (adj.1)) + avis "bird" (see aviary). Latin plural is raræ aves. Horace's peacock (a Roman delicacy), Juvenal's black swan ("Rara avis in terris, nigroque simillima cygno").
rare (adj.1) Look up rare at Dictionary.com
"unusual," late 14c., "thin, airy, porous;" mid-15c., "few in number and widely separated, sparsely distributed, seldom found;" from Old French rere "sparse" (14c.), from Latin rarus "thinly sown, having a loose texture; not thick; having intervals between, full of empty spaces," from PIE *ra-ro-, from root *ere- "to separate; adjoin" (cognates: Sanskrit rte "besides, except," viralah "distant, tight, rare;" Old Church Slavonic rediku "rare," Old Hittite arhaš "border," Lithuanian irti "to be dissolved"). "Few in number," hence, "unusual." Related: Rareness. In chemistry, rare earth is from 1818.
rare (adj.2) Look up rare at Dictionary.com
"undercooked," 1650s, variant of Middle English rere, from Old English hrere "lightly cooked," probably related to hreran "to stir, move, shake, agitate," from Proto-Germanic *hror- (cognates: Old Frisian hrera "to stir, move," Old Saxon hrorian, Dutch roeren, German rühren, Old Norse hroera), from PIE base *kere- "to mix, confuse; cook" (cognates: Greek kera- "to mix," krasis "mixture"). Originally of eggs, not recorded in reference to meat until 1784, and according to OED, in this sense "formerly often regarded as an Americanism, although it was current in many English dialects ...."
rare (v.) Look up rare at Dictionary.com
"rise up," 1833, dialectal variant of rear (v.1). Sense of "eager" (in raring to go) first recorded 1909. Related: Rared; raring.
rarebit Look up rarebit at Dictionary.com
1785, perversion of (Welsh) rabbit, as if from rare + bit. See Welsh.
raree show Look up raree show at Dictionary.com
"peep show contained in a box," 1680s, so called "in imitation of the foreign way of pronouncing rare show" [Johnson]. "Johnson's statement is prob. correct; the early exhibitors of peep-shows appear to have been usually Savoyards, from whom the form was no doubt adopted" [OED]. Early "peep shows" were more innocent than what usually was meant later by that word.
rarefaction (n.) Look up rarefaction at Dictionary.com
c.1600, from Middle French raréfaction or directly from Medieval Latin rarefactionem (nominative rarefactio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin rarefacere (see rarefy). Used chiefly in reference to gases.
rarefy (v.) Look up rarefy at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French rarefier (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin rarificare, from Latin rarefacere "make rare," from rarus "rare, thin" (see rare (adj.1)) + facere "to make" (see factitious). Related: Rarefied.
rarely (adv.) Look up rarely at Dictionary.com
1550s, from rare (adj.1) + -ly (2). "Seldom, not often;" also "finely, excellently."
rarify (v.) Look up rarify at Dictionary.com
common but incorrect spelling of rarefy (q.v.). Related: Rarified; rarifying.
rarity (n.) Look up rarity at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "thinness;" 1550s, "fewness," from Middle French rarité or directly from Latin raritas "thinness, looseness of texture; fewness," from rarus (see rare (adj.1)). Sense of "a rare thing or event" is from 1590s.
ras Look up ras at Dictionary.com
Ethiopian title, from Amharic ras "chief, head," from Arabic ra's.
rascal (n.) Look up rascal at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., rascaile "people of the lowest class, rabble of an army," also singular, "low, tricky, dishonest person," from Old French rascaille "rabble, mob" (12c., Modern French racaille, "the rascality or base and rascall sort, the scumme, dregs, offals, outcasts, of any company" [Cotgrave, French-English Dictionary, 1611]), perhaps a diminutive from Old French rascler, from Vulgar Latin *rasicare "to scrape" (see rash (n.)). Used also in Middle English of animals not hunted as game.
rascality (n.) Look up rascality at Dictionary.com
"low and vulgar people collectively," 1570s; "character of a rascal," 1590s, from rascal + -ity.
rascally (adj.) Look up rascally at Dictionary.com
"low, mean, unprincipled," from rascal + -ly (1).
rase (v.) Look up rase at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "remove by scraping, rub, scrape out, erase," from Old French raser "to scrape, shave," from Medieval Latin rasare, frequentative of Latin radere (past participle rasus) "to scrape, shave," perhaps from PIE *razd- (cognates: Latin rastrum "rake"), possible extended form of root *red- "to scrape, scratch, gnaw" (see rodent). Related: Rased; rasing.
rash (adj.) Look up rash at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "nimble, quick, vigorous" (early 14c. as a surname), a Scottish and northern word, perhaps from Old English -ræsc (as in ligræsc "flash of lightning") or one of its Germanic cognates, from Proto-Germanic *raskuz (cognates: Middle Low German rasch, Middle Dutch rasc "quick, swift," German rasch "quick, fast"). Related to Old English horsc "quick-witted." Sense of "reckless, impetuous, heedless of consequences" is attested from c.1500. Related: Rashly; rashness.
rash (n.) Look up rash at Dictionary.com
"eruption of small red spots on skin," 1709, perhaps from French rache "a sore" (Old French rasche "rash, scurf"), from Vulgar Latin *rasicare "to scrape" (also source of Old Provençal rascar, Spanish rascar "to scrape, scratch," Italian raschina "itch"), from Latin rasus "scraped," past participle of radere "to scrape" (see raze). The connecting notion would be of itching. Figurative sense of "any sudden outbreak or proliferation" first recorded 1820.
rasher (n.) Look up rasher at Dictionary.com
"thin slice of bacon or ham," 1590s, of unknown origin. Perhaps from Middle English rash "to cut," variant of rase "to rub, scrape out, erase." However, early lexicographer John Minsheu explained it in 1627 as a piece "rashly or hastily roasted."
Raskolnik Look up Raskolnik at Dictionary.com
"dissenter from the Russian Church, an Old Believer," 1723, from Russian Raskolnik "separatist," from raskol "schism, separation." The schism was a result of reforms by Patriarch Nikon in 1667.
rasp (v.) Look up rasp at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., "to scrape," from Middle Dutch raspen and from Old French rasper (Modern French râper) "to grate, rasp," which is perhaps from a West Germanic source (compare Old English gehrespan) akin to the root of raffle. Vocalic sense is from 1843. Related: Rasped; rasping.
rasp (n.) Look up rasp at Dictionary.com
"coarse file," 1540s, from Middle French raspe (Modern French râpe), from Old French rasper "to rasp" (see rasp (v.)).
raspberry (n.) Look up raspberry at Dictionary.com
1620s, earlier raspis berry (1540s), possibly from raspise "a sweet rose-colored wine" (mid-15c.), from Anglo-Latin vinum raspeys, origin uncertain, as is the connection between this and Old French raspe, Medieval Latin raspecia, raspeium, also meaning "raspberry." One suggestion is via Old Walloon raspoie "thicket," of Germanic origin. Klein suggests it is via the French word, from a Germanic source akin to English rasp (v.), with an original sense of "rough berry," based on appearance.

A native plant of Europe and Asiatic Russia, the name was applied to a similar vine in North America. Meaning "rude sound" (1890) is shortening of raspberry tart, rhyming slang for fart.
Rasputin Look up Rasputin at Dictionary.com
acquired name (Russian, literally "debauchee") of Grigory Yefimovich Novykh (c.1872-1916), mystic and faith healer who held sway over court of Nicholas II of Russia. His nickname is from his doctrine of "rebirth through sin," that true holy communion must be preceded by immersion in sin. His name used figuratively in English from 1937 for anyone felt to have an insidious and corrupting influence.
raspy (adj.) Look up raspy at Dictionary.com
1670s, of plants; by 1821 of voices, from rasp + -y (2).
Rasta (adj.) Look up Rasta at Dictionary.com
1955; see Rastafarian. From 1962 as a noun. Related: Rastaman.
Rastafarian (n.) Look up Rastafarian at Dictionary.com
1955 (Rastafarite is found from 1953), from Rastafari, Jamaican religion built around writings of Marcus Garvey and belief that Haile Selassie (1892-1975), former emperor of Ethiopia, was God. From Ras Tafari, Selassie's title from 1916 to his accession in 1936, from Amharic ras "chief, head" (from Arabic ra's) + tafari "to be feared." As an adjective from 1960.
Rastafarianism Look up Rastafarianism at Dictionary.com
1964, from Rastafarian + -ism. Rastafarism is attested from 1955.