Word of the Day : August 21, 2014

ragamuffin

play
noun RAG-uh-muf-in

Definition

: a ragged often disreputable person; especially : a poorly clothed often dirty child

Did You Know?

If you’ve guessed that "rag" or "ragged" is related to "ragamuffin," you may be correct, but the origins of today's word are somewhat murky. In Middle English the term functioned both as a surname and generically to denote a ragged and sometimes stupid person, and in the Middle English alliterative poem Piers Plowman William Langland used the word to serve as the name of a demon. The "muffin" part of "ragamuffin" may have its origin in either of two Anglo-Norman words for a devil or scoundrel, but that too is uncertain. No matter its muddied history: the word has continued to develop in modern times. It can also refer to a type of music with rap lyrics and a reggae beat, a meaning that can be found at Merriam-Webster Unabridged.


Examples

Tourists in the city were often surrounded by young ragamuffins begging to be allowed to do small services for an equally small donation.

"Miller shows remarkable range in her portrayal of Rose, who transforms from an underfoot ragamuffin to a confident vixen." - David N. Dunkle, The Patriot-News (Pennsylvania), July 18, 2014



Test Your Vocabulary

What is another name for a poorly clothed, dirty child that is commonly used after "street"? The answer is …


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