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Alternative forms[edit]


From ragman roll (long list; catalogue).



rigmarole (countable and uncountable, plural rigmaroles)

  1. A long and complicated procedure that seems tiresome or pointless.
    Have you seen all the rigmarole you have to go through at airport security these days?
  2. Nonsense; confused and incoherent talk.
    • 1847, Thomas De Quincey, Secret Societies (published in Tait's Edinburgh Magazine)
      Often one's dear friend talks something which one scruples to call rigmarole.
    • 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.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 250:
      "Stuff and nonsense, and lying rigmaroles!" he growled, as I vanished through the door[.]
    • 1895, Robert Louis Stevenson, The Valima Letters, ch XIX:
      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.
    • 1910, A. E. W. Mason, At the Villa Rose, ch XVII:
      "Quite so," said Adèle comfortably. "Now let us be sensible and dine. We can amuse ourselves with mademoiselle's rigmaroles afterwards."
    • 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.




  1. Prolix; tedious.

Further reading[edit]