Rube Goldberg

Rube Gold·​berg | \ ˈrüb-ˈgōl(d)-ˌbərg How to pronounce Rube Goldberg (audio) \
variants: or less commonly Rube Goldbergian \ ˈrüb-​ˈgōl(d)-​ˌbər-​gē-​ən How to pronounce Rube Goldberg (audio) , -​ˌbərg-​yən \

Definition of Rube Goldberg

: accomplishing by complex means what seemingly could be done simply a kind of Rube Goldberg contraption … with five hundred moving parts— L. T. Grant also : characterized by such complex means

First Known Use of Rube Goldberg

1928, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Rube Goldberg

Reuben (Rube) L. Goldberg †1970 American cartoonist

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Rube Goldberg

Time Traveler for Rube Goldberg

Time Traveler

The first known use of Rube Goldberg was in 1928

See more words from the same year

Statistics for Rube Goldberg

Cite this Entry

“Rube Goldberg.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for Rube Goldberg

Rube Goldberg

How to pronounce Rube Goldberg (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of Rube Goldberg

US : doing something simple in a very complicated way that is not necessary

Comments on Rube Goldberg

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!