Rake - Encyclopedia


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'RAKE (O.E.' rata, cognate with Du. raak, Ger. Rechen, from a root meaning to scrape together, heap up), an agricultural and horticultural implement consisting of a toothed bar fixed transversely to a handle, and used for the collection of cut hay, grass, &c., and, in gardening, for loosening the soil, light weeding and levelling, and generally for purposes performed in agriculture by the harrow. The teeth of the hand-rake are of wood or iron. For the horse-drawn rake, a bar with long curved steel teeth is mounted on wheels (see HAY AND Haymaking). The word "rake" has been used since the 17th century in the sense of a man of a dissolute or dissipated character. This is a shortened form of the earlier "rake-hell," apparently in common use in the 16th century. In military and naval use "to rake" means to enfilade, to fire so that the shot may pass lengthwise along a ship, a line of soldiers, entrenchments, &c. In the nautical sense of the projection or slope of a ship's bows or stern or the inclination of a mast, the word is apparently an adaptation of the Scandinavian raka, to reach, in the sense of reach forward.

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