ram·​bunc·​tious | \ram-ˈbəŋk-shəs \

Definition of rambunctious 

: marked by uncontrollable exuberance : unruly

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Other Words from rambunctious

rambunctiously adverb
rambunctiousness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for rambunctious


boisterous, knockabout, raucous, rollicking, rowdy



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Rambunctious Has (Possible) British Origins

Rambunctious first appeared in print in 1830, at a time when the fast-growing United States was forging its identity and indulging in a fashion for colorful new coinages suggestive of the young nation's optimism and exuberance. "Rip-roaring," "scalawag," "hornswoggle," and "skedaddle" are other examples of the lively language of that era. Did Americans alter the largely British "rumbustious" because it sounded, well, British? That could be. "Rumbustious," which first appeared in Britain in the late 1700s, was probably based on "robustious," a much older adjective that meant both "robust" and "boisterous."

Examples of rambunctious in a Sentence

that beach is often taken over by packs of rambunctious young people, so don't go there expecting peace and quiet

Recent Examples on the Web

The rambunctious 4-year-old now rubs elbows with Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Why Zara Tindall Is One of the Most Impressive Royals Ever," 22 June 2018 Director William Brown has also listened, which is why he and his cast capture all that’s not said, between Farquhar’s rambunctious lines. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Love and death in Spring Green: 'The Recruiting Officer,' 'Exit the King'," 3 July 2018 The child was rambunctious, but didn’t seem to be suffering from any injuries, a teacher from the school told jurors last week. Gal Tziperman Lotan, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Darell Avant should get life in prison for killing son, jury decides, ruling out death penalty," 5 July 2018 The crowd grew so rambunctious that school board chair Jane K. Strauss (Dranesville) intervened several times, banging her gavel and threatening to clear the room. Debbie Truong, Washington Post, "In Fairfax, a lesson on why words matter, especially in sexual health class," 23 June 2018 Normally toddlers are rambunctious and running around. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Administration Keeps Babies and Toddlers in ‘Tender Age’ Shelters," 20 June 2018 De Jesús is another standout in the play, as the rambunctious and sassy Emory. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "The Boys in the Band," 1 June 2018 Monty, portrayed by Morgan West, is white, rambunctious and a bit of a Lothario. Daryl H. Miller, latimes.com, "The Actors Co-op production of 'Violet' might make you believe in miracles," 24 May 2018 Gray and fellow teacher Mary Jo Perez redirect rambunctious and wandering energy back to the game at hand. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "First Stage actors, MYSO musicians learn from pros at Milwaukee Youth Arts Center," 9 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of rambunctious

1830, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rambunctious

probably alteration of rumbustious

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Dictionary Entries near rambunctious



ram bow



ram cat

RAM disk

Statistics for rambunctious

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for rambunctious

The first known use of rambunctious was in 1830

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More Definitions for rambunctious



English Language Learners Definition of rambunctious

: uncontrolled in a way that is playful or full of energy


ram·​bunc·​tious | \ram-ˈbəŋk-shəs \

Kids Definition of rambunctious

: not under control in a way that is playful or full of energy The schoolyard was filled with rambunctious kids.

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Comments on rambunctious

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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