A rifle is a long, powerful gun that is fired from the shoulder. A soldier is most often armed with a rifle.
Some hunters use rifles, which fire single bullets rather than the small pellets, or shot, that shotguns fire. A rifle can do more damage and is therefore often used in the military. The name comes from the shape of the barrel, which is grooved — or rifled, from the Old French word rifler, "to scratch or groove." Another meaning of rifle comes from the same root but means "to search through things in a hurried way."