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[ram-buhngk-shuh s] /ræmˈbʌŋk ʃəs/
difficult to control or handle; wildly boisterous:
a rambunctious child.
turbulently active and noisy:
a social gathering that became rambunctious and out of hand.
Origin of rambunctious
1820-30, Americanism; origin uncertain
Related forms
rambunctiously, adverb
rambunctiousness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for rambunctious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Wraiths now have a rambunctious vitality and self-assurance that are astonishing.

  • Dan hates Injuns, an' he'd sure be rambunctious 'bout this one.

  • She was so strong in the wrists and fingers that she could hold them when they were rambunctious.

    The Seven Darlings Gouverneur Morris
  • Just because I don't like rambunctious play doesn't mean I want to sleep all the time!

    Marjorie at Seacote Carolyn Wells
  • There seemed to be more than twenty of them; that, though, was due to the flitting movements of their rambunctious forms.

    Local Color Irvin S. Cobb
British Dictionary definitions for rambunctious


(informal) boisterous; unruly
Derived Forms
rambunctiously, adverb
rambunctiousness, noun
Word Origin
C19: probably from Icelandic ram- (intensifying prefix) + -bunctious, from bumptious
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rambunctious

1859, earlier rumbunctious, 1830, probably altered (by influence of ram) from rumbustious.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for rambunctious



Boisterous; obstreperous; wild

[1859+; origin unknown; rumbunctious is found by 1830]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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