Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[rag-uh-muhf-in] /ˈræg əˌmʌf ɪn/
a ragged, disreputable person; tatterdemalion.
a child in ragged, ill-fitting, dirty clothes.
Origin of ragamuffin
1350-1400; Middle English Ragamoffyn, name of a demon in the poem Piers Plowman
2. waif, urchin, guttersnipe, street arab. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for ragamuffin
Historical Examples
  • A mercy it was that he didn't call me a ragamuffin, Joseph said to himself.

    The Brook Kerith George Moore
  • Then he is known as the "ragamuffin," on account of his covering of rags.

    The Devil's Pool George Sand
  • He declared himself thirsty, and a ragamuffin handing him a half-empty bottle, he drank from it.

    The Peasant and the Prince Harriet Martineau
  • For this exploit the ragamuffin is lauding him to the skies.

  • Do you know, by the way, what a quaint little 316 ragamuffin philosopher that child is?

  • Playing marbles with some of your ragamuffin friends, I suppose.

    Fame and Fortune Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • It's a likely story that a ragamuffin like you would be trusted with so much money.

    Ben, the Luggage Boy; Horatio Alger
  • An artist would still have said, "How handsome that ragamuffin must have been!"

    What Will He Do With It, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • The ragamuffin has luck; he takes her into his household, "society," and destroys the virgin.

    The Ego and His Own Max Stirner
  • Of course, there are some good among them, as with other ‘ragamuffin’ ramblers.

    Gipsy Life George Smith
British Dictionary definitions for ragamuffin


a ragged unkempt person, esp a child
another name for ragga
Word Origin
C14 Ragamoffyn, name of a demon in the poem Piers Plowman (1393); probably based on rag1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for ragamuffin

mid-14c., "demon," also in surnames (Isabella Ragamuffyn, 1344), from Middle English raggi "ragged" ("rag-y"?) + fanciful ending (or else second element is Middle Dutch muffe "mitten"). Or, as Johnson has it, "From rag and I know not what else." Ragged was used of the devil from c.1300 in reference to "shaggy" appearance. Raggeman was used by Langland as the name of a demon, and cf. Old French Ragamoffyn, name of a demon in a mystery play. Sense of "dirty, disreputable boy" is from 1580s. Cf. in the same sense ragabash (c.1600).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for ragamuffin

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for ragamuffin

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for ragamuffin