RAKE (O.E. raca, cognate with Du. rack, Ger. Rtchett, 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, etc., 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, etc. 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.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)