reef v. to use (excessive) force, especially when hitting, pulling, or twisting (on something). Editorial Note: Jonathon Green’s Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang has a related definition, “to gouge out, to attack, to remove forcibly” and has marked it as Irish, but the citations below demonstrate that this word is used throughout the Anglophone world. Macquarie Dictionary has a definition of reef “(of a horse) to throw its head up, thereby pulling against the reins” but the written record indicates that the rider can also reef on the horse. Thanks to Orion Montoya for suggesting today’s word. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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  1. does this come from sailing? “reefing in the sail” sounds familiar.

  2. That’s a different kind of “reef,” as far as I can tell, and since it’s in every dictionary I checked, it did not warrant inclusion here.

  3. Our guest horticuluralist at the Arboretum where I work,gave a demo at our volunteer work party on Saturday.
    Reef. She used this word to explain how not to use the tool. She explained “avoid reefing the tool”. “Using the tool effectively will be more efficient and save wear and tear on the body.”
    I had never heard this expression before. My guest is orgininally from New England. I was exploring the inet for more info on this for the article I am writting on this work party.
    Incidently, the weed we worked on removing is
    Yellow Archangel;
    Lamiastrum galeobdolon (Mint Family) a noxious weed in King County of Washington State.

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