rigmarole

noun
rig·ma·role | \ˈri-gə-mə-ˌrōl, ˈrig-mə-\
variants: or less commonly

Definition of rigmarole 

1 : confused or meaningless talk

2 : a complex and sometimes ritualistic procedure

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

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

Amazon will gain a pharmacy license in 49 states and avoid regulatory rigmarole. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Amazon the Rx Disrupter," 29 June 2018 But even Express holders, who can walk right into the Fallon attraction without a reservation, have to wade through the pre-ride rigmarole. Arthur Levine, USA TODAY, "Universal's Virtual Line revamps queues for attractions," 13 June 2018 Certain direct-to-consumer brands such as Away and Barracuda—both of whose bags are equipped with all-important ejectable batteries—have taken care to make the airport rigmarole less, not more, stressful. Haley Velasco, WSJ, "Does Smart Luggage Really Make Travel Easier?," 23 May 2018 If Superman can just fly backwards and turn back the clock, why bother going through the rigmarole of fighting bad guys? Frank Pallotta And Brian Lowry, CNN, "A spoiler-y discussion about Marvel's 'Avengers' mashup," 30 Apr. 2018 This has been going on -- this rigmarole, as my mother used to say, has been going on for a long time. Fox News, "'Roseanne' reboot premieres to strong ratings," 29 Mar. 2018 Eagles fans, meanwhile, will likely face the usual rigmarole. Nick Vadala, Philly.com, "In South Philly on Saturday? Expect delays, thanks to the Eagles and the Killers," 11 Jan. 2018 However, in the heart of the holiday season, that rigmarole is somehow interrupted by a 14-year-old. Kathy Iandoli, Billboard, "Bhad Bhabie Talks Viral Success, Kodak Black Rumors & Using Haters as Inspiration," 26 Dec. 2017 Baggage or no baggage, the rigmarole is nothing short of exhausting. Kinvara Balfour, A-LIST, "On The Fly," 23 Dec. 2017

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rigmarole

Listen to Our Podcast about rigmarole

Dictionary Entries near rigmarole

riglet

rigling

rigmaree

rigmarole

rigolet

rigor

rigorism

Statistics for rigmarole

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rigmarole

The first known use of rigmarole was circa 1736

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on rigmarole

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

WORD OF THE DAY

evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!