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[rig-muh-rohl] /ˈrɪg məˌroʊl/
an elaborate or complicated procedure:
to go through the rigmarole of a formal dinner.
confused, incoherent, foolish, or meaningless talk.
Also, rigamarole.
Origin of rigmarole
First recorded in 1730-40; alteration of ragman roll Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for rigmarole
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I was sitting with my finger in the hot water listening to this rigmarole.

    The Stark Munro Letters J. Stark Munro
  • What made that other child tell all that rigmarole about fairies?

    A Little Maid of Old Philadelphia

    Alice Turner Curtis
  • Daddy Tantaine began to grow impatient with all this rigmarole.

    Caught In The Net Emile Gaboriau
  • But I've got to tell you all this rigmarole first, so you'll understand what's comin'.

    Aunt Jane of Kentucky Eliza Calvert Hall
  • "All this rigmarole comes of the theatre," said Sister Agatha grimly.

    Flamsted quarries Mary E. Waller
  • He was great in dreams, portents, et id genus omne of rigmarole.

  • Now you can tell me the true inward meaning of all this rigmarole.

    The Grand Babylon Hotel Arnold Bennett
  • He's got a rigmarole somethin' about his bein' a Jew pedler that he tells ev'rybody.

    Sixes and Sevens

    O. Henry
  • Of course, that rigmarole about the cardinal is all nonsense.

    Castellinaria Henry Festing Jones
British Dictionary definitions for rigmarole


any long complicated procedure
a set of incoherent or pointless statements; garbled nonsense
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
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Word Origin and History for rigmarole

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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