rag·​a·​muf·​fin | \ ˈra-gə-ˌmə-fən How to pronounce ragamuffin (audio) \

Definition of ragamuffin

: 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, ragamuffin 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.

Examples of ragamuffin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At least as the wryly morose Shakespeare, a ragamuffin-ish Nolte makes this journey occasionally captivating and lively — if not, ultimately, one worth seeing through to the end. Nick Schager, Variety, 21 Dec. 2021 For the occasion, Wayne ditched his usual ragamuffin chic attire in favor of an understated gray turtleneck and dark, baggy sweater with red trim. Keith Spera, NOLA.com, 21 Jan. 2021 This world teems with joyous Lower East Side ragamuffins, outfitted by costume designer Carol Sorensen. Hugh Hunter, Philly.com, 14 May 2018 Baker’s new exploitation mode includes lurid, nursery-school pastels and ragamuffin kids who curse, vandalize, and set fires. Armond White, National Review, 6 Oct. 2017 And Derek Klena as cavalier hunk and all-around ragamuffin Dmitry. Diana Bruk, Seventeen, 30 Aug. 2016 While still in his teens, Pacino became one of the ragamuffins loitering outside the HB Studio on Bank Street in Greenwich Village, waiting for acting class to start. Jimmy Breslin, Esquire, 20 Mar. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ragamuffin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ragamuffin

1581, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ragamuffin

Middle English Ragamuffyn, name for a ragged, oafish person

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Time Traveler for ragamuffin

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The first known use of ragamuffin was in 1581

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Dictionary Entries Near ragamuffin



rag-and-bone man

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Cite this Entry

“Ragamuffin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ragamuffin. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for ragamuffin


rag·​a·​muf·​fin | \ ˈra-gə-ˌmə-fən How to pronounce ragamuffin (audio) \

Kids Definition of ragamuffin

: a poorly clothed and often dirty child

More from Merriam-Webster on ragamuffin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ragamuffin

Nglish: Translation of ragamuffin for Spanish Speakers


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