• synonyms

Rube Goldberg

  1. having a fantastically complicated, improvised appearance: a Rube Goldberg arrangement of flasks and test tubes.
  2. deviously complex and impractical: a Rube Goldberg scheme for reducing taxes.
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Also Goldbergian, Rube Goldbergian.

Origin of Rube Goldberg

1955–60; after Rube (Reuben) Goldberg


  1. Arthur Joseph,1908–90, U.S. jurist, statesman, and diplomat: associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court 1962–65; ambassador to the U.N. 1965–68.
  2. Reuben LuciusRube, 1883–1970, U.S. cartoonist, whose work often depicts deviously complex and impractical inventions.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Word Origin and History for rube goldberg

Rube Goldberg


1940, from the U.S. cartoonist Reuben Lucius Goldberg (1883-1970) who devised fantastically complex gadgetry to accomplish simple tasks. His British counterpart was Heath Robinson (1872-1944).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper