rake

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

  • noun an implement with a handle, a crossbar with several prongs, used for pulling hay together, or for smoothing loose soil to form a seedbed
  • verb to pull hay or dead grass with a rake
  • verb to move a flock of sheep from one pasture to another

Aviation

  • noun the angle between a wing or propeller blade of an aircraft and a perpendicular or line of symmetry

Construction

  • To slant or incline from the vertical or horizontal.
  • A board or molding that is placed along the sloping edge of a frame gable to cover the edges of the siding.
  • A tool used to remove mortar from the face of a wall.

Military

  • verb to fire over a wide area with an automatic weapon

Theater

  • The slope of a stage floor from the back down towards the front.It was introduced in the Renaissance period to enhance the illusionisticeffect of scenes painted in perspective; a rake appears in the basicdesign for a theater published by Sebastiano Serlio in 1545. However,the rake, which could be up to a 4% slope, caused problems with jointedscenery and movable platforms (see boat truck). Inmodern theaters the stage is level while the auditorium floor is rakedto enable those sitting at the back to see over the heads of thosein front of them.

Origin & History of “rake”

English has three distinct words rake. The oldest, ‘toothed implement’ (OE), goes back to a prehistoric Germanic *rak- or *rek- ‘gather, heap up’, which also produced German rechen ‘rake’. It may be descended ultimately from Indo-European *rog-, *reg- ‘stretch’ (source of Latin regere ‘rule’ and English right), the notion of ‘stretching’ developing via ‘stretch out the hand’ to ‘collect, gather’. Rake ‘slant, inclination’ (17th c.) is of uncertain origin, although it seems likely that it is related to German ragen ‘project’. It formed the basis of the adjective rakish (19th c.) (inspired originally by the backward-inclined masts on certain fast sailing ships), but this has since become associated with the third rake, ‘dissolute man’ (17th c.). This was short for the now defunct rakehell (16th c.), which comes from the notion that one would have to search through hell with a rake to find such a bad man.
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