As defined above and below, a riddle is either a conundrum, or a board with holes in it.

I found THIS trio of definitions to be entertaining.

  • Something can be riddled with holes, either in an arrangement or at random.
  • A board with holes is used to riddle a bottle of champagne. The necks of the bottles are inserted in the holes downward, so that any sediment (also called must) in the wine will fall out of solution. The bottles are then briefly opened and the sediment removed.
  • A riddle is a sort of word puzzle, where the answer falls out of solution.
  • This is a popular e-mail that has been showcased on many web sites, and is well circulated through email servers such as and

    When asked this riddle, 80% of kindergarten kids got the answer, compared to 17% of Stanford University seniors.

    What is greater than God, More evil than the devil, The poor have it, The rich need it, And if you eat it, you'll die?

    It's not as hard as you think.....



    This is the answer, with its letters scrambled: NIOGHNT

    Another popular riddle, this riddle is very popular in chatrooms and has been seen to pop up among the depths of mIRC.

    He who makes me has no use for me, he who buys me has no use for me, and he who uses me can neither feel nor see me. What am I?


    This is the answer, with its letters scrambled: FONFCI

    Below are a collection of riddles from various sources. Most of these are puzzles involving looking at familiar objects in unfamiliar ways, although a couple may be considered word puzzles. None of them appear to have identified authors; all are found in numerous places on the internet; many are very old and may be considered attributable to that great author of folk songs and ballads know as "Traditional" or "Anonymous". Solutions are hardlinked to from the word "solution" under each puzzle, so move your mouse over to read, or click on through.


    He who makes it does not keep it.
    He who takes it does not know it.
    He who knows it does not want it.
    He who gathers it must destroy it.
    What is it?



    What is deaf, dumb and blind
    And always tells the truth?



    What's black when you buy it,
    Red when you use it,
    And grey when you throw it away.



    I know a word of letters three;
    Add two, and fewer there will be.



    It is said by certain people that some things are improved by death. Tell me what stinks while living but in death smells good?



    As I went over London Bridge
    I met my sister Jenny;
    I broke her neck and drank her blood
    And left her standing empty.



    If you break me
    I do not stop working,
    If you touch me
    I may be snared,
    If you lose me
    Nothing will matter.



    If a man carried my burden
    He would break his back.
    I am not rich,
    But leave silver in my track.



    Each morning I appear
    To lie at your feet,
    All day I will follow
    No matter how fast you run,
    Yet I nearly perish
    In the midday sun.



    I am as cold as death, but ever breathing.
    Never thirsty, but ever drinking.
    Covered in mail, but never clinking.
    What am I?



    I am used to bat with, yet I never get a hit.
    I am near a ball, yet it is never thrown.
    What am I?


    As bright as a curious child's eyes
    More mournful than the song of a solitary dove
    Darker than a thief's disguise
    Yet truer a hue than a blind man's love

    Finer and more delicate than a sparrow's bone
    More rare than the finest Chinese dye
    As rich as the leaf on an emperor's throne
    Yet as easy to find as a cloudless sky

    What color am I?

    Rid"dle (?), n. [OE. ridil, AS. hridder; akin to G. reiter, L. cribrum, and to Gr. to distinguish, separate, and G. rein clean. See Crisis, Certain.]


    A sieve with coarse meshes, usually of wire, for separating coarser materials from finer, as chaff from grain, cinders from ashes, or gravel from sand.


    A board having a row of pins, set zigzag, between which wire is drawn to straighten it.


    © Webster 1913.

    Rid"dle, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Riddled (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Riddling (?).]


    To separate, as grain from the chaff, with a riddle; to pass through a riddle; as, riddle wheat; to riddle coal or gravel.


    To perforate so as to make like a riddle; to make many holes in; as, a house riddled with shot.


    © Webster 1913.

    Rid"dle, n. [For riddels, s being misunderstood as the plural ending; OE. ridels, redels. AS. rdels; akin to D. raadsel, G. rathsel; fr. AS. rdan to counsel or advise, also, to guess. &root;116. Cf. Read.]

    Something proposed to be solved by guessing or conjecture; a puzzling question; an ambiguous proposition; an enigma; hence, anything ambiguous or puzzling.

    To wring from me, and tell to them, my secret, That solved the riddle which I had proposed. Milton.

    'T was a strange riddle of a lady. Hudibras.


    © Webster 1913.

    Rid"dle, v. t.

    To explain; to solve; to unriddle.

    Riddle me this, and guess him if you can. Dryden.


    © Webster 1913.

    Rid"dle, v. i.

    To speak ambiguously or enigmatically.

    "Lysander riddels very prettily."



    © Webster 1913.

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