having a fantastically complicated, improvised appearance: a Rube Goldberg arrangement of flasks and test tubes.
deviously complex and impractical: a Rube Goldberg scheme for reducing taxes.
Also Goldbergian, Rube Goldbergian.
Origin of Rube Goldberg
1955–60; after Rube (Reuben) Goldberg
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.
Reuben LuciusRube, 1883–1970, U.S. cartoonist, whose work often depicts deviously complex and impractical inventions.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
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).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper