1 : confused or meaningless talk
2 : a complex and sometimes ritualistic procedure
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."
Rather than go through the annual rigmarole of filling out tax forms, Maureen would rather pay an accountant to do her taxes for her.
"After years of procrastinating, I logged on to my retirement account. Just working my way through the rigmarole of retrieving lost passwords and locating my investments was bad enough." -Sendhil Mullainathan, The New York Times, 11 July 2015
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Fill in the blanks to create a synonym of rigmarole: _ _ b _ le _ y _ _ ok. The answer is …
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