ram·​bunc·​tious | \ ram-ˈbəŋk-shəs How to pronounce rambunctious (audio) \

Definition of rambunctious

: marked by uncontrollable exuberance : unruly

Other Words from rambunctious

rambunctiously adverb
rambunctiousness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for rambunctious



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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 At the time, the active and rambunctious eight-month-old pup had been adopted and returned to the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter by no less than five families. Maureen Mackey, Fox News, 15 May 2022 Winding and rambunctious rivers still follow their ancient courses, flowing through thousand-year-old rainforests to pristine stretches of Pacific coast where wild islands harbor whales and trophy salmon. Outside Online, 25 May 2015 At age 4, the rambunctious animal-lover from Northglenn, Colorado, was given 9 months to live. Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2022 Your rambunctious pup will have plenty of fun playing with it all year long. Rachel Simon, PEOPLE.com, 1 Feb. 2022 Sotheby’s tried to make up for the embarrassment with more trays of champagne and a rambunctious after-party featuring a DJ clad in a CryptoPunk helmet, Marshmello-style. Abram Brown, Forbes, 9 Apr. 2022 Kaitlin Smith grew up the older sister of a rambunctious brother. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, The Indianapolis Star, 4 Apr. 2022 Twitter and Facebook may seem rambunctious, but they're mostly made of silent symbols. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, 31 Mar. 2022 Police keeping an eye on the scene were at ease, in stark contrast to their Miami Beach counterparts, who were faced with rambunctious crowds and a pair of shocking shootings in crowded areas last week. Fox News, 26 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of rambunctious

1830, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rambunctious

probably alteration of rumbustious

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The first known use of rambunctious was in 1830

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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Rambunctious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rambunctious. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for rambunctious


ram·​bunc·​tious | \ ram-ˈbəŋk-shəs How to pronounce rambunctious (audio) \

Kids Definition of rambunctious

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

More from Merriam-Webster on rambunctious

Nglish: Translation of rambunctious for Spanish Speakers


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