Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Alternative forms 
From ragman roll (“long list; catalogue”).
- Complex, obsolete procedures; excess steps or activity; needless motion.
- Have you seen all the rigmarole you have to go through at airport security these days?
- Nonsense; confused and incoherent talk.
- 1895 — In comes Mitaiele to Lloyd, and told some rigmarole about Paatalise (the steward's name) wanting to go and see his family in the bush. — Robert Louis Stevenson, The Valima Letters, ch XIX
- De Quincey
- Often one's dear friend talks something which one scruples to call rigmarole.
- confused and incoherent talk
- 1854 — Henry David Thoreau, Walden, ch VII
- While you are planting the seed, he cries -- "Drop it, drop it -- cover it up, cover it up -- pull it up, pull it up, pull it up." But this was not corn, and so it was safe from such enemies as he. You may wonder what his rigmarole, his amateur Paganini performances on one string or on twenty, have to do with your planting, and yet prefer it to leached ashes or plaster.
- 1880 — Rosina Bulwer Lytton, A Blighted Life, sxn 4
- His reply did not even allude to the subject, but was a rigmarole about the weather; as if he had been writing to an idiot, who did not require a rational answer to any question they had asked.
- 1910 — A. E. W. Mason, At the Villa Rose, ch XVII
- 1915 — John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps, ch 1
- He seemed to brace himself for a great effort, and then started on the queerest rigmarole.
complex obsolete procedure