[ram-buhngk-shuh s]


difficult to control or handle; wildly boisterous: a rambunctious child.
turbulently active and noisy: a social gathering that became rambunctious and out of hand.

Origin of rambunctious

An Americanism dating back to 1820–30; origin uncertain
Related formsram·bunc·tious·ly, adverbram·bunc·tious·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for rambunctious

raucous, noisy, rowdy, unruly, boisterous, rough, rude, turbulent, termagant

Examples from the Web for rambunctious

Contemporary Examples of rambunctious

Historical Examples of rambunctious

  • She was so strong in the wrists and fingers that she could hold them when they were rambunctious.

    The Seven Darlings

    Gouverneur Morris

  • Dan hates Injuns, an' he'd sure be rambunctious 'bout this one.

  • Just because I don't like rambunctious play doesn't mean I want to sleep all the time!

    Marjorie at Seacote

    Carolyn Wells

  • There seemed to be more than twenty of them; that, though, was due to the flitting movements of their rambunctious forms.

    Local Color

    Irvin S. Cobb

  • There had been no cowboys watching the steers, for the corral had always been strong enough to hold the most rambunctious.

British Dictionary definitions for rambunctious



informal boisterous; unruly
Derived Formsrambunctiously, adverbrambunctiousness, noun

Word Origin for rambunctious

C19: probably from Icelandic ram- (intensifying prefix) + -bunctious, from bumptious
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 rambunctious

1859, earlier rumbunctious, 1830, probably altered (by influence of ram) from rumbustious.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper