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ragamuffin

[rag-uh-muhf-in]
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noun
  1. a ragged, disreputable person; tatterdemalion.
  2. a child in ragged, ill-fitting, dirty clothes.
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Origin of ragamuffin

1350–1400; Middle English Ragamoffyn, name of a demon in the poem Piers Plowman

Synonyms

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

beggar, urchin, vagrant, orphan, waif, tramp, tatterdemalion, bum, vagabond, loafer, hobo, wastrel, guttersnipe, gamin, scarecrow

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.


British Dictionary definitions for ragamuffin

ragamuffin

noun
  1. a ragged unkempt person, esp a child
  2. another name for ragga
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Word Origin

C14 Ragamoffyn, name of a demon in the poem Piers Plowman (1393); probably based on rag 1
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 ragamuffin

n.

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper