Use the word riffraff when you refer in a snide way to common or lower-class people as a group. A snob might refuse to stay at a party if he thinks it's full of riffraff.

You're only going to use riffraff in a joking way, unless you truly consider yourself part of a small, elite, superior segment of humanity. An obnoxious, arrogant character in a movie might tell her chauffeur, "Jeeves, pull around the corner. I don't want to walk through that crowd of riffraff." Before the fifteenth century, the term was rif and raf, which meant both "everybody," and "sweepings."

Definitions of riffraff
  1. noun
    disparaging terms for the common people
    synonyms: rabble, ragtag, ragtag and bobtail
    see moresee less
    scum, trash
    worthless people
    type of:
    common people, folk, folks
    people in general (often used in the plural)
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week