ragamuffin

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

Definition of ragamuffin 

: a ragged often disreputable person especially : a poorly clothed often dirty child

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Examples of ragamuffin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

This world teems with joyous Lower East Side ragamuffins, outfitted by costume designer Carol Sorensen. Hugh Hunter, Philly.com, "'Newsies' at Media Theatre teems with energy," 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, "Blade Runner 2049 : The Politics of Hollywood Hacks," 6 Oct. 2017 And Derek Klena as cavalier hunk and all-around ragamuffin Dmitry. Diana Bruk, Seventeen, ""Anastasia" Is Coming to Broadway And The First Images Are Breathtaking," 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, "The Oddfather," 20 Mar. 2017

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ragamuffin

Share ragamuffin

Listen to Our Podcast about ragamuffin

Dictionary Entries near ragamuffin

rag

raga

ragabash

ragamuffin

rag-and-bone man

rag baby

ragbag

Statistics for ragamuffin

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ragamuffin

The first known use of ragamuffin was in 1581

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ragamuffin

ragamuffin

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ragamuffin

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

ragamuffin

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

Kids Definition of ragamuffin

: a poorly clothed and often dirty child

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on ragamuffin

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

something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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