Please imagine you in a gunfire a car / someone's body gets riddled with bullets as the linked pictures. As you will notice at first glance, you will see a big difference between the amount of the hit bullets to the target [a car or even a human body.]

Who would a native speaker differentiate these two from one another in English:

enter image description here

enter image description here

What I can say here would be something like:

They've riddled the car.


The car got riddled.

Which can be used only for the first picture. But what about the second one which has gotten much more riddled?

  • 2
    You could use riddled for either picture. In fact, I'd be more inclined to use it for the second picture than the first. In my opinion, the more bullet holes are in the car, the more I think riddled is a good word to use.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 11:23
  • What @J.R. says. It's probable that few people who use the word know this, but the verb riddle in this sense is derived from a noun meaning a coarse 'sieve'--so the verb becomes more appropriate as the proportion of holes to solids increases. Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 12:44

1 Answer 1


For your first picture

The car has some bullet holes.
The car has a dozen bullet holes.

For your second picture

P1: What does the car look like?

P2: The car is riddled with bullet holes, too many to count.
      The car is covered with bullet holes, too many to count.

P1: How badly?
P2: Like Swiss Cheese.

(source: bgr.com)

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