ragamuffin

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

Definition of ragamuffin

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

ragamuffin was our Word of the Day on 08/21/2014. Hear the podcast!

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


RAGAMUFFIN Defined for English Language Learners

ragamuffin

play
noun

Definition of ragamuffin for English Language Learners

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


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



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