cram·​bo ˈkram-(ˌ)bō How to pronounce crambo (audio)
plural cramboes
: a game in which one player gives a word or line of verse to be matched in rhyme by other players

Did you know?

We've called the game "crambo" since at least 1660, but it was originally dubbed "crambe." The now-obsolete word crambe literally meant "cabbage," but it was rarely used for the leafy plant. Instead, it was used figuratively (in reference to a Latin phrase meaning "cabbage repeated or served up again") for things that were overused or repeated. The game, which was popular in the 17th and 18th centuries, began with one player picking a word. A second player then tried to guess it by asking questions. For example: "I know a word that rhymes with 'bird.'" "Is it ridiculous?" "No, it is not absurd." "Is it a part of speech?" "No, it is not a word." And so on, until the word was guessed.

Word History


alteration of earlier crambe, from Latin, cabbage, from Greek krambē

First Known Use

1660, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of crambo was in 1660


Dictionary Entries Near crambo

Cite this Entry

“Crambo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jun. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on crambo

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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