Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

ragamuffin

play
noun rag·a·muf·fin \ˈra-gə-ˌmə-fən\

Simple Definition of ragamuffin

  • : a child who is dressed in rags and is usually dirty and poor

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of ragamuffin

  1. :  a ragged often disreputable person; especially :  a poorly clothed often dirty child

Did You Know?

If you’ve guessed that rag or ragged is related to ragamuffin, you may be correct, but the origins of the word are somewhat murky. In Middle English the term functioned both as a surname and generically to denote a ragged and sometimes stupid person, and in the Middle English alliterative poem Piers Plowman William Langland used the word to serve as the name of a demon. The muffin part of ragamuffin may have its origin in either of two Anglo-Norman words for a devil or scoundrel, but that too is uncertain. No matter its muddied history: the word has continued to develop in modern times. It can also refer to a type of music with rap lyrics and a reggae beat, a meaning that can be found at Merriam-Webster Unabridged.

Origin and Etymology of ragamuffin

Middle English Ragamuffyn, name for a ragged, oafish person


First Known Use: 1581

Rhymes with ragamuffin


RAGAMUFFIN Defined for Kids

ragamuffin

play
noun rag·a·muf·fin \ˈra-gə-ˌmə-fən\

Definition of ragamuffin for Students

  1. :  a poorly clothed and often dirty child




Learn More about ragamuffin


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up ragamuffin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a jerking and twitching of the body

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

two-chairs-on-a-pier-by-the-ocean-in-summer

Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?

estival brumal vernal hiemal
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ