Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about a rabble or the rabble. You can also talk about “rabbles,” but that’s rare.)
“Rabble” has many meanings, but let’s focus on the most useful ones. A rabble is a big, disorganized group of people, otherwise known as a mob, and calling a group of people “a rabble” or “the rabble” is an insulting way to say they are low-class. Figuratively, a rabble of things is a messy and confused group of things. “Rabble” is a harsh and violent word, so use it with care.
Rabbles, rabble-rouse (to stir up the rabble of people), rabble-rouser.
“Rabble” is a verb, too, but we won’t get into it in this issue.
How to use it:
Talk about a rabble of people, like the rabble of Congress or a rabble of hippies. If you say “the rabble,” you just mean all the common, low-class people, like “the rabble of this nation.” To be figurative, talk about a rabble of things or the rabble of things.
Whenever a pop star rises to fame, amid all her praise and adoration, the jealous rabble makes nasty comments about her.
The McDonald’s near our house has quit giving out free cups for water, presumably to keep the rabble from using them to steal soda.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You'll know you understand what "rabble" means when you can explain it without saying "mob" or "low-class."
Think of a group of people who really annoy you, and fill in the blanks: “The rabble of _____ just couldn’t handle it when _____.”
Example: “The rabble of religious extremists preaching to us on campus just couldn’t handle it when we countered their arguments rationally.”
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don't go straight to the review now; let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month's game is "guess the common word based on the given literal root meanings." Try it out each day and see the right answer the next day. It can be fun and illuminating to see the literal meanings of words when they came into the language! More than one right answer might be possible in some cases, just so you know. Also, it's okay if you can't come up with most or even any of the answers on your own; just check out the solutions and you'll learn the roots as you go along this month.
"together" + "shut" = ?
Try this one today:
"over" + "take" = ?
A Point Well Made:
Aaron Ehasz, writing for the character Professor Farnsworth: "And now that I've found all the answers, I realize that what I was living for were the questions."
1. The opposite of RABBLE is
C. THE ELITE
2. It’s really unfair to label this school a tumultuous rabble; after all, the students _____.
A. have the highest dropout rates in the county.
B. occasionally play jokes on the substitute teachers.
C. spend several hours each week volunteering in the community.
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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