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Rube Goldberg

1940, in reference to 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).

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Definitions of Rube Goldberg

Rube Goldberg (n.)
United States cartoonist who drew intricate diagrams of very complicated and impractical contraptions that accomplished little or nothing (1883-1970);
Synonyms: Goldberg / Reuben Lucius Goldberg
From wordnet.princeton.edu