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.

Goldberg, Rube

  1. A twentieth-century American cartoonist and sculptor. He was famous for his humorous diagrams of incredibly intricate machines designed to carry out simple tasks.

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A “Rube Goldberg contraption” is a machine with many apparently extraneous parts, which appears to have been designed by patchwork.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of Rube Goldberg1

1955–60; after Rube ( Reuben ) Goldberg

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Example Sentences

A Rube Goldberg system of ELT scripts and disparate, special analytic-centric repositories hinders an organizations’ ability to achieve that goal.

It’s not a sleek chip—like all classical computers and many quantum ones too—so much as a quantum Rube Goldberg machine on a lab bench.

A lazy off-season afternoon in Palmer's house is like being trapped in a Rube Goldberg cartoon.

Rube Goldberg legislation is most dangerous when you do not have buy-in from the public and the opposition party.

Such Rube Goldberg–like coincidences will not prevail against the Syria-Iran axis.

I would suggest, if we Americans can pitch into this great movement, some gargoyles designed by Mr. Rube Goldberg.

You learned the language just by sticking that Rube Goldberg deal on Tim's head?


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