View synonyms for rigmarole


[ rig-muh-rohl ]


  1. an elaborate or complicated procedure:

    to go through the rigmarole of a formal dinner.

  2. confused, incoherent, foolish, or meaningless talk.


/ ˈrɪɡməˌrəʊl /


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

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Word History and Origins

Origin of rigmarole1

First recorded in 1730–40; alteration of ragman roll

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Word History and Origins

Origin of rigmarole1

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

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Example Sentences

That wrangling becomes necessary if a classroom tests positive, of course, but surveilling air filters instead of students could help schools get a course look at transmission without the rigmarole of testing lots of students.

All that rigmarole from long ago broadcasts important lessons to our own time.

After all the rigmarole, they found what any pediatrician already knew: the MMR causes fever.

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

But it came back to him afterward, and seemed to bear out the Countess's rigmarole.

I am sure that no one who has seen all this radical rigmarole, as I have had occasion to see it, can be deceived by it.

It's a rigmarole because the boy is a Rigmarole and we've come to Rigmarole Town.

But now, what confused rigmarole are you bringing to my ears?


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More About Rigmarole

What is a rigmarole?

A rigmarole is an elaborate or complicated procedure, as in Registering and insuring a car involves a lot of rigmarole.

A rigmarole is any process or procedure that is overly complicated to the point that it may seem pointless or annoying to those who have to complete it. People will often refer to long, drawn-out explanations or formal introductions as rigmaroles. They will also frequently describe repetitive procedures, such as checking in, waiting in line for, or signing up for something, as rigmaroles.

A rigmarole can also be confused, incoherent, foolish, or meaningless talk, as in The speaker just gave us a lot of rigmarole instead of any insight into the problem. This meaning is almost always used as an insult relating to speeches one disagrees with or an explanation that may have been too complex for them to understand. It is also sometimes used in reference to someone who speaks extremely fast or who uses obtuse or foreign vocabulary when speaking.

Rigmarole can also be spelled rigamarole, which is pronounced rig-uh-ma-rohl.

Example: Before I give the whole rigmarole, I would like to introduce my co-hosts.

Where does rigmarole come from?

The first records of the term rigmarole come from around the 1730s. It is a variation of the term ragman roll, meaning “a long list.”

The term rigmarole is a colloquialism of the obsolete term ragman roll. The ragman rolls were a collection of parchment documents provided by a large group of Scottish clan nobles in the late 1200s. The collection was made up of deeds, agreements, and similar documents assigning the nobles’ allegiance to the king of England at the time, Edward I, after they were pressured to do so by English soldiers. 

While the origin of ragman is unknown, the term ragman roll came to be used to mean “a long list or record,” based on the idea of the long list of nobles who signed the original ragman rolls.

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What are some other forms related to rigmarole?

  • rigamarole (alternative spelling)

What are some synonyms for rigmarole?

What are some words that share a root or word element with rigmarole

What are some words that often get used in discussing rigmarole?

How is rigmarole used in real life?

Rigmarole is a fun word to say when you have to describe something as repetitive or pointless.

Try using rigmarole!

True or False?

A concert featuring one band would be a rigmarole.

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