Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Confused, rambling, or incoherent discourse; nonsense.
  • n. A complicated, petty set of procedures.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Complex, obsolete procedures; excess steps or activity; needless motion.
  • n. Nonsense; confused and incoherent talk.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A succession of confused or nonsensical statements; foolish talk; nonsense.
  • adj. Consisting of rigmarole; frivolous; nonsensical; foolish.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A succession of confused or foolish statements; an incoherent, long-winded harangue; disjointed talk or writing; balderdash; nonsense.
  • n. Synonyms Chat, Jargon, etc. See prattle.
  • Consisting of or characterized by rigmarole; long-winded and foolish; prolix; hence, formal; tedious.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a set of confused and meaningless statements
  • n. a long and complicated and confusing procedure

Etymologies

Alteration of obsolete ragman roll, catalog, from Middle English ragmane rolle, scroll used in Ragman, a game of chance : perhaps from Anglo-Norman Ragemon le bon, Ragemon the Good, title of a set of verses about a character of this name + Middle English rolle, list (from Old French, from Latin rotula, wheel; see roll).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From ragman roll ("long list; catalogue"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Especially where his own family was concerned, Mr. Wylder was not the most delicate of men! he opened the letter, and in it found what he called a rigmarole of poetry and theology!

    There & Back

  • This party label rigmarole is silly, inside baseball bullshit .... on Guess Who's Got A Pimped Out New Web Presence?

    Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

  • And here what is chiefly interesting in the rigmarole is the evidence that Milton had been recently attending to the news from Scotland.

    The Life of John Milton

  • "The rigmarole is a lot, which is why I'm only going to Rebecca's show," said actress

    Home | The New York Observer

  • That's right go ahead, get ahead with your puerile slurred word rigmarole and put it out on the lids it's down congealed both the rest of your post nearly half realised birdlike thoughts clogging the solo seventies or new intellectual skinhead morass a shad mock whistle honestly professor competing with it observing scientifically brains are in that need maths to understand chords missing slide back to bottom of ravine while they catch up freezing outside contained thrash about.

    The Post Nearly Man

  • Understandably the legal "rigmarole" would be outstanding.

    Kevin Smith Talks About That ‘Fan-Funding’ Idea for Red State | /Film

  • There is no need to have to do this ridiculous rigmarole which is neither use nor ornament to us in our daily role.

    OSPRE can be useful. « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • Two survivors of this great race, Leigh Hunt and De Quincey, were indeed critics, and no inconsiderable ones; but the natural force of both had long been much abated, and both had been not so much critics as essayists; the tendency of Hunt to flowery sentimentality or familiar chat, and that of De Quincey to incessant divergences of "rigmarole," being formidable enemies to real critical competence.

    Matthew Arnold

  • For it actually came to pass that a very well - known man of letters, while he, with the refined politeness characteristic of his style, spoke of mine as "rigmarole," still praised my pictures.

    Memoirs

  • But listen: I won't demand of you an answer to my letters; I don't even want to know whether you read my 'rigmarole'; but, in the name of all that's holy, don't send my letters back to me!

    The Diary of a Superfluous Man and Other Stories

Comments

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  • "Alteration of obsolete ragman roll, catalog, from Middle English ragmane rolle, scroll used in Ragman, a game of chance, perhaps from : Anglo-Norman Ragemon le bon, Ragemon the Good, title of a set of verses about a character of this name + Middle English rolle, list (from Old French, from Latin rotula, wheel; see roll)."

    -The American Heritage Dictionary

    May 28, 2010

  • Thanks for NOT pronouncing this "rigamarole." It's rigmarole.

    Thank you.

    February 2, 2007