1. of common or frequent occurrence; prevalent; in widespread existence, activity, or use: Crime is rife in the slum areas of our cities.
  2. current in speech or report: Rumors are rife that the government is in financial difficulty.
  3. abundant, plentiful, or numerous.
  4. abounding (usually followed by with).

adjective (postpositive)

  1. of widespread occurrence; prevalent or currentrumour was rife in the village
  2. very plentiful; abundant
  3. (foll by with) abounding (in)a land rife with poverty

Old English rife “abundant, common, prevalent,” from Proto-Germanic *rif- (cf. Old Norse rifr, Swedish river, Norwegian riv, Middle Dutch riif, Middle Low German rive “abundant, generous”), said to be from PIE root *rei- “to scratch, tear, cut” “The prevalence of the word in early southern texts is in favour of its being native in English, rather than an adoption from Scandinavian.” [OED]

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