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A variant of rumbustious (boisterous and unruly).[1]



rambunctious (comparative more rambunctious, superlative most rambunctious)

  1. (chiefly US, informal) Boisterous, energetic, noisy, and difficult to control.
    Synonyms: (slang) hyphy, robustious, rumbustious, (Northern England, Scotland) shandy, unruly, wild
    The kids are being especially rambunctious today.
    • 1852 November, O’Hara Family, “Clough Fionn; or, The Stone of Destiny”, in The Dublin University Magazine, a Literary and Political Journal, volume XL, number CCXXXIX, Dublin: James McGlashan, []; London: W[illia]m S[omerville] Orr and Company, →OCLC, chapter XI, page 557, column 1:
      "Bad cess may attend you, where are you scampering to, you rambunctious"—but she could go no farther; the tears burst from her, and she gave way, without farther resistance, to an explosion of grief.
    • 1856 October, “About These Books”, in J. Clement, editor, The Western Literary Messenger [], volume XXVII, number II, Buffalo, N.Y.: Thomas & Lathrops, [], →OCLC, page 64, column 1:
      "Not as you knows on, you rambunctious wool grower," said the indignant Yankee.
    • 1862 January, “A Canal-boat Sketch”, in Duffy’s Hibernian Magazine. [], volume I (New Series), number 1, Dublin, London: James Duffy, [], →OCLC, page 92:
      There was close by me a window, and, noiselessly as possible, I slid back a small piece, thereby rousing the light-sleeping mistress of the canary, who sharply requested it be closed again; [...] the other lady smiled despairingly, and signed me to obey, which I reluctantly did by closing the glass; but the shutter proved rumbunctious, and for no effort of mine would again move out of his groove; [...]
    • 1873 March, W[illia]m S. Walsh, “How We Watched the Grapes”, in J[ohn] T[ownsend] Trowbridge, Lucy Larcom, editors, Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls, volume IX, number III, Boston, Mass.: James R[ipley] Osgood and Company, [], →OCLC, page 181:
      "I guess the governor'd be rambunxious, as usual, if I was to ask his permission," the dutiful son remarked; "but he's going away for a few days next week, and mother won't hinder me, I know."
    • 1979, “The Art of Government is the Art of Adjustment”, in Canada Today = Canada d’aujourd’hui, volume 10, number 4, Washington, D.C.: Canadian Embassy, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 2:
      It may sometimes appear that Canada is composed of nine complacent, cohesive English-speaking provinces and rambunctious Quebec. In fact, it is composed of ten provinces, each different and all occasionally rambunctious.
    • 1990 March, L[ucyan] David Mech, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?”, in Audubon, New York, N.Y.: National Audubon Society, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 82, column 2; reprinted in “Appendix 15. Article—Wolf Attacks on Humans”, in The Reintroduction of Gray Wolves to Yellowstone National Park and Central Idaho: Final Environmental Impact Statement, Helena, Mont.: Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, May 1994, →OCLC, pages 6-100:
      Eventually the two rambunctious wolves decided to race back towards the carcass, no doubt forgetting I was still there.
    • 2002 May 1, Jeffrey J. Rowland, Wigu Adventures[1], archived from the original on 6 January 2009:
      Mrs. Tinkle, your son’s rambunctious behavior is quite common in children with unusually high intelligence levels.
    • 2015, Molly Whittington-Egan, “Preface: Into the Cabinet”, in Mrs Guppy Takes a Flight: A Scandal of Victorian Spiritualism, [Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland]: Neil Wilson Publishing, →ISBN, page x:
      She was placid, stately and Juno-esque, soft-toned in her trance utterances, but she could become powerful in her office, an imposing presence. Sometimes a rumbunctious, chaffing persona emerged and was a little over the top for genteel spinsters to tolerate.
    • 2018 December 12, Charles Bramesco, “A Spoonful of Nostalgia Helps the Calculated Mary Poppins Returns Go Down”, in The A.V. Club[2], archived from the original on 24 May 2019:
      She does the same thing as any parent worth their salt, and gets rambunctious youngsters engaged in daily drudgeries by refashioning the quotidian as adventure.
    • 2023 October 3, Sirin Kale, “Purring, parasites and pure love: what exactly makes someone a cat person?”, in The Guardian[3], →ISSN:
      The Turkish-American film-maker Ceyda Torun documented the rambunctious street cats of Istanbul in her award-winning 2017 documentary Kedi (“cat” in Turkish).

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  1. ^ rambunctious, adj.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2008; rambunctious, adj.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.