rigmarole

noun
rig·​ma·​role | \ ˈri-gə-mə-ˌrōl How to pronounce rigmarole (audio) , ˈrig-mə- \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of rigmarole

1 : confused or meaningless talk
2 : a complex and sometimes ritualistic procedure

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In the Middle Ages, the term Rageman or Ragman referred to a game in which a player randomly selected a string attached to a roll of verses and read the selected verse. The roll was called a Ragman roll after a fictional king purported to be the author of the verses. By the 16th century, ragman and ragman roll were being used figuratively to mean "a list or catalog." Both terms fell out of written use, but ragman roll persisted in speech, and in the 18th century it resurfaced in writing as rigmarole, with the meaning "a succession of confused, meaningless, or foolish statements." In the mid-19th century rigmarole (also spelled rigamarole, reflecting its common pronunciation) acquired its most recent sense, "a complex and ritualistic procedure."

Examples of rigmarole in a Sentence

We had to go through the rigmarole of installing, registering, and activating the software before we found out it wouldn't work. He just told us what to do without all the usual rigamarole.
Recent Examples on the Web To pass her genes onto the next generation, a mom has to survive the grueling rigmarole of gestation, labor, lactation, and caring for a fairly fragile infant. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 20 July 2021 For movies, Amazon is now a member of Apple’s Video Partner Program and allowed to sell movies directly, but other retailers including Fandango Now and Vudu still have to send us through a rigmarole. Anchorage Daily News, 30 May 2021 For movies, Amazon is now a member of Apple’s Video Partner Program and allowed to sell movies directly, but other retailers including Fandango Now and Vudu still have to send us through a rigmarole. Anchorage Daily News, 30 May 2021 And there’s a market for that: The Strand bookstore in New York will sell books by the foot for people who want bespoke-looking shelves without going through the rigmarole of choosing (and presumably reading) a book. Washington Post, 19 June 2021 For movies, Amazon is now a member of Apple’s Video Partner Program and allowed to sell movies directly, but other retailers including Fandango Now and Vudu still have to send us through a rigmarole. Anchorage Daily News, 30 May 2021 This allows a startup to avoid the IPO regulatory rigmarole and to make sometimes exaggerated projections without incurring liability. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 14 June 2021 For movies, Amazon is now a member of Apple’s Video Partner Program and allowed to sell movies directly, but other retailers including Fandango Now and Vudu still have to send us through a rigmarole. Anchorage Daily News, 30 May 2021 Occasionally, the actors prove more chilling, even in plainly expository scenes, than the actual rigmarole of horror movie tricks. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 4 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rigmarole.' 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 rigmarole

circa 1736, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rigmarole

alteration of obsolete ragman roll long list, catalog

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Time Traveler for rigmarole

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The first known use of rigmarole was circa 1736

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Dictionary Entries Near rigmarole

rigmaree

rigmarole

rigolet

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Cite this Entry

“Rigmarole.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rigmarole. Accessed 9 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for rigmarole

rigmarole

noun

English Language Learners Definition of rigmarole

: a long, complicated, and annoying process, description, etc.

rigmarole

noun
rig·​ma·​role | \ ˈrig-mə-ˌrōl \

Kids Definition of rigmarole

1 : a long and usually meaningless or uninteresting story
2 : a complicated and often unnecessary procedure

More from Merriam-Webster on rigmarole

Nglish: Translation of rigmarole for Spanish Speakers

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