ram·​bunc·​tious ram-ˈbəŋk-shəs How to pronounce rambunctious (audio)
: marked by uncontrollable exuberance : unruly
rambunctiously adverb
rambunctiousness noun

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Rambunctious Has (Possible) British Origins

Rambunctious first appeared in print in the early half of the 19th century, 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, scrumptious, 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 just after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, 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 film kicks off as a rambunctious extended family arrives at their Long Island hometown for the holidays. Brent Lang, Variety, 13 June 2024 The stunning green and purple auroras that sparkled in the night across the continental United States this week are the latest entry in a rambunctious year for space weather. Umair Irfan, Vox, 14 May 2024 Detroit ran with that concept and launched its primary competitor, Creem, embracing a more rambunctious, irreverent voice. Brian McCollum, Detroit Free Press, 26 Jan. 2024 Many board the plane with a bag of toys, electronics, snacks, and coloring books just hoping that one of those items will keep their kids occupied enough to prevent them from becoming rambunctious around the other passengers. Bobby Laurie, Condé Nast Traveler, 22 May 2023 See all Example Sentences for rambunctious 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rambunctious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


probably alteration of rumbustious

First Known Use

1830, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rambunctious was in 1830


Dictionary Entries Near rambunctious

Cite this Entry

“Rambunctious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rambunctious. Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


ram·​bunc·​tious ram-ˈbəŋ(k)-shəs How to pronounce rambunctious (audio)
: not under control : unruly, exuberant
rambunctiously adverb
rambunctiousness noun

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