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Rube Goldberg

noun
1.
having a fantastically complicated, improvised appearance:
a Rube Goldberg arrangement of flasks and test tubes.
2.
deviously complex and impractical:
a Rube Goldberg scheme for reducing taxes.
Also, Goldbergian, Rube Goldbergian.
Origin
1955-1960
1955-60; after Rube (Reuben) Goldberg

Goldberg

[gohld-burg] /ˈgoʊld bɜrg/
noun
1.
Arthur Joseph, 1908–90, U.S. jurist, statesman, and diplomat: associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court 1962–65; ambassador to the U.N. 1965–68.
2.
Reuben Lucius ("Rube") 1883–1970, U.S. cartoonist, whose work often depicts deviously complex and impractical inventions.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin and History for Rube Goldberg
adj.

1940, from the U.S. cartoonist Reuben Lucius Goldberg (1883-1970) who devised fantastically complex gadgetry to accomplish simple tasks. His British counterpart was Heath Robinson (1872-1944).

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

Rube Goldberg

noun phrase

A much overcomplicated machine or arrangement: The public's got the idea that this is a boondoggle, a Rube Goldberg

[1940+; fr the fancifully articulated machines drawn by the cartoonist Rube Goldberg (1883–1970); the British artist Heath Robinson (1872–1944) amused his public with similar gadgets]


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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