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[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.
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Examples from the Web for ragamuffin
Historical Examples
  • "I'll give you the bulliest shine you ever had," said the ragamuffin.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • I feel enough like a sneakin' ragamuffin and housebreaker as 'tis.

    Thankful's Inheritance Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Then he is known as the "ragamuffin," on account of his covering of rags.

    The Devil's Pool George Sand
  • For this exploit the ragamuffin is lauding him to the skies.

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

    Fame and Fortune Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • An artist would still have said, "How handsome that ragamuffin must have been!"

    What Will He Do With It, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • Do you mean to say that a ragamuffin like you had fifty dollars?

    Ben, the Luggage Boy; Horatio Alger
  • It's a likely story that a ragamuffin like you would be trusted with so much money.

    Ben, the Luggage Boy; Horatio Alger
  • Of course, there are some good among them, as with other ‘ragamuffin’ ramblers.

    Gipsy Life George Smith
  • The giant looked contemptuously at the tailor, and said: 'You ragamuffin!

    Grimms' Fairy Tales The Brothers Grimm
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
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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
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