[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. rigidity,
  2. rigidize,
  3. rigidly,
  4. rigil kent,
  5. rigil kentaurus,
  6. rigodon,
  7. rigolet,
  8. rigoletto,
  9. rigor,
  10. rigor mortis

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for rigmarole

British Dictionary definitions for rigmarole



/ (ˈrɪɡməˌrəʊl) /


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

Word Origin for rigmarole

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



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