A Rant on Riff

When I first saw today’s one-word prompt, “riff,” the term “riffraff” popped into my head. But riff and riffraff are not even close in meaning. Riffraff are people regarded as disreputable or worthless; members of the lowest classes. Or as Trump and his billionaire cronies might say, the hoi polloi.

Then I thought of the word “rift,” which can either be an opening made by splitting, cleaving, etc., or a break in friendly relations, as in a rift between two old friends. Nope, a riff and a rift are not the same thing.

That got me to the word “tiff.” A tiff is a slight or petty quarrel or a word used to react someone who may be in a bad mood, as in he’s in a tiff about the rain on his parade. I guess a tiff can result in a rift, but not in a riff.

Since none of these other words is what a “riff” is, I knew I had to think harder. So I got out of bed, took a leak, and started brushing my teeth when it finally hit me.

Riff, as in guitar riff. Like what Eric Clapton, one of my all time favorite rock guitarists, does so incredibly well.

But the word riff is actually more versatile than just a musical solo improvisation on a guitar or other musical instrument. It can also be a rapid, energetic, often improvised verbal outpouring such as one might hear as part of a comic performance.

I would probably choose the word “rant,” rather than “riff,” to describe such a comic outpouring, but that’s just me.

Okay, this is the end of my rant on the word riff.

11 thoughts on “A Rant on Riff

  1. Marilyn Armstrong November 13, 2017 / 9:08 am

    Did we used to play this as a word game when we were kids? Change one letter of each word to make a new, different word? You could go on forever. English is really funny that way.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Fandango November 13, 2017 / 9:18 am

      Yes, English is a funny language. Weird, sometimes maddening, sometimes nonsensical, and challenging for even native speakers.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. rugby843 November 13, 2017 / 12:03 pm

    I also like Clapton, but the Prompt took me back to 1988 when my son bought his first electric guitar. He played the violin early on. He is an amazing player and it’s a very calming solace to him. I miss hearing him play.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango November 13, 2017 / 2:49 pm

      My son plays the ukulele, but not that well, which is why don’t miss hearing him play.


  3. Sight11 November 14, 2017 / 8:22 am

    I thought it will be another music post.. Phew, a case not meant to be!


    • Fandango November 14, 2017 / 9:12 am

      I hope you’re not disappointed, Sight. I know how much you love posts about music and songs.

      Liked by 1 person

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