1 : a confusing or colorful often gaudy action or display : razzle-dazzle
2 : inflated, involved, and often deliberately ambiguous language : double-talk
Did You Know?
English speakers are fond of forming new words through reduplication of a base word, usually with just a slight change of sound. Think of okeydoke, fuddy-duddy, super-duper, roly-poly, fiddle-faddle, and dillydally. Another word is razzle-dazzle, formed by the reduplication of dazzle (itself a frequentative of daze). In the late-19th century, the spirit that prompted razzle-dazzle (one early meaning of which is "a state of confusion or hilarity") seems to have also inspired razzmatazz. The coiners of razzmatazz may also have had jazz in mind. Some of the earliest turn-of-the century uses of razzmatazz refer to rag-time or early jazz styles. By the mid-20th century, we'd come round to the "razzle-dazzle" sense, though we still haven't completely settled on the spelling. You might, for example, see razzamatazz.
We were disappointed by the candidate's speech, which offered plenty of razzmatazz but little substance.
"The fireworks, the razzmatazz, the artifice do not add to the sense of occasion. Instead of augmenting the competition's charm, they detract from it." — Rory Smith, The New York Times, 28 May 2017
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Fill in the blanks to complete a word formed through reduplication that means "monotonous": _ u _ d _ _ m.VIEW THE ANSWER
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP