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rigmarole

[rig-muh-rohl]
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noun
  1. an elaborate or complicated procedure: to go through the rigmarole of a formal dinner.
  2. confused, incoherent, foolish, or meaningless talk.
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Origin of rigmarole

First recorded in 1730–40; alteration of ragman roll
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for rigmarole

rigmarole

rigamarole

noun
  1. any long complicated procedure
  2. a set of incoherent or pointless statements; garbled nonsense
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Word Origin

C18: from earlier ragman roll a list, probably a roll used in a medieval game, wherein various characters were described in verse, beginning with Ragemon le bon Ragman the good
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

Word Origin and History for rigmarole

n.

1736, "a long, rambling discourse," apparently from an altered, Kentish colloquial survival of ragman roll "long list or catalogue" (1520s), in Middle English a long roll of verses descriptive of personal characters, used in a medieval game of chance called Rageman, perhaps from Anglo-French Ragemon le bon "Ragemon the good," which was the heading on one set of the verses, referring to a character by that name. Sense transferred to "foolish activity or commotion" by 1939.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper