Definition of ragamuffin in US English:



  • 1A person, typically a child, in ragged, dirty clothes.

    • ‘I once met Keegan at Heathrow and he took the time out to have a talk with four ragamuffins, when some would have just walked past and ignored us.’
    • ‘Charity may begin at home, but without these kinds of outlets many people would be dressed like ragamuffins.’
    • ‘Bob looked like a ragamuffin, probably one of the things I found so appealing about him.’
    • ‘‘We turned up like little raggamuffins,’ she recalled.’
    • ‘He knew he was taking a risk, but there was something about this scrawny little ragamuffin which made him feel desperately sorry for her.’
    • ‘Each boy is worth his time, and an adorable group of ragamuffins they are.’
    • ‘Most people will see this film as a harmless piece of escapist whimsy, replete with cute ragamuffins, a performing dog, and old steam locomotives.’
    • ‘Why had she even gone with the dirty little ragamuffin?’
    • ‘We have only recently come to live in Pattaya, but feel that we should be doing something to help some of the ragamuffin children we see around the streets.’
    • ‘I'm a ragamuffin in real life - I don't wear makeup, I don't brush my hair.’
    • ‘Tonight, I was a street ragamuffin, ready to enjoy the finer things in life.’
    • ‘The first time we met this ragamuffin she was very shy, but this time she was so friendly, full of confidence and holding our hands as we walked around.’
    • ‘When I look back at the way I dressed, I think I looked part vagabond and part ragamuffin.’
    • ‘‘If I catch you I'm going to kiss you,’ yelled the ragamuffin, casting aside his sandwich box and hurtling off after her.’
    • ‘The first was shorter, rat-faced kid in ragamuffin attire who Skye only knew by sight.’
    • ‘Set on Thanksgiving, an artsy New York ragamuffin type tries to get dinner together for her estranged suburban family.’
    • ‘I had to take care of ten little ragamuffins all by my lonesome.’
    urchin, guttersnipe, waif
    View synonyms
  • 2An exponent or follower of ragga, typically one dressing in ragged clothes.

    • ‘He has the makings of a male model underneath his ragamuffin dreads.’
    • ‘Our own raggamuffins and slow-track rhythm artistes are leading us to an uneasy future.’
    • ‘No R & B release these days would be complete without an appearance from Sean Paul, and the ragamuffin adds his trademark delivery to this song.’
    • ‘In addition to the chic sound of Paris which Solaar himself is most closely aligned to, there are groups like IAM which lead Marseille in its edgier, more recognisably ragamuffin style.’
    1. 2.1
      another term for ragga
      • ‘A broad variety of musical inflections ranging from hard-core rap to reggae and raggamuffin distinguish French rap from U.S. rap and give it features more in common with British and Italian hip hop.’
      • ‘The question they are asking is how can digitally arranged Western R & B, raggamuffin and Hip Hop be called Zambian music?’
      • ‘A distinctive musical syncretism also emerged among the Italian rap groups that pushed out the parameters of hip hop and more often than not became fused with raggamuffin reggae, dance hall, and ska influences.’
      • ‘The three significant French magazines focusing exclusively on rap (and ragamuffin as well) are Radikal, Groove, and R.E.R. (for Rap Et Reggae).’
      • ‘In Italy, for instance, first-generation rappers of the early nineties endorsed a politicized and militant stance, and used rap and raggamuffin as vehicles of political and social protest.’
      • ‘French-speaking blacks from the Caribbean launched ragamuffin - a musical form influenced by reggae and its associated musical styles - in France.’
      • ‘At the turn of the Nineties, the footballer would often celebrate his goals by running to the corner flag, and doing a ‘bogling’ move, a ragamuffin reggae dance then popular in the black community.’


Middle English: probably based on rag, with a fanciful suffix.