Definition of rigmarole in US English:



  • 1usually in singular A lengthy and complicated procedure.

    ‘he went through the rigmarole of securing the front door’
    • ‘We ought to learn business like everybody else, go through the same rigmarole.’
    • ‘So you quickly tire of having to go through the rigmarole.’
    • ‘I went through this rigmarole for the next hour or so.’
    • ‘It took quite a time of fiddling about before I found a comfortable position and then, in cases where driving is shared, the whole rigmarole has to be endured all over again when you get back behind the wheel.’
    • ‘He didn't know why he bothered with this rigmarole.’
    • ‘The pomposity and rigmarole they put directors through is astounding.’
    • ‘They should just take less tax from us instead of making us go through months of rigmarole for nothing!’
    • ‘But then came the page banners and pop-up ads and the whole rigmarole started all over again.’
    • ‘If we'd gone much further it would have been dark before we finished all this rigmarole.’
    • ‘I would need to go through the rigmarole of applying for both accounts.’
    • ‘They are for people who know what they want and who don't want to go through the rigmarole of talking to a sales assistant.’
    • ‘Howard had been through the rigmarole of selling a company many times.’
    • ‘I couldn't focus on an abstract location, so I focused on the last place I remember clearest before this whole rigmarole started.’
    • ‘I'd been on boats where people went diving, and I'd watched the rigmarole of getting kitted up in diving gear.’
    lengthy process, fuss, fuss and bother, bother, commotion, trouble, folderol, ado, pother
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    1. 1.1 A long, rambling story or statement.
      • ‘So aleatoric poetry could be described with historical exactitude as a rigmarole.’
      • ‘The book is packed with stimulating philosophical (and depressingly prophetic) allusion within the author's own field, but ends up as a bit of a rigmarole.’
      • ‘The others were standing around, drinks in hand, congratulating my cousin on his initiation, and asking us amused tones what we thought of the crazy rigmarole.’
      lengthy explanation, lengthy story, saga, yarn, recitation, burble, burbling, maundering, shaggy-dog story
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Mid 18th century: apparently an alteration of ragman roll, originally denoting a legal document recording a list of offenses.