Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to rumbustious

rum (adj.)

"excellent, fine, good, valuable," canting slang, 1560s, also rome, "fine," said to be from Romany rom "male, husband" (see Romany). A very common 16c. cant word (opposed to queer), as in rum kicks "Breeches of gold or silver brocade, or richly laced with gold or silver" [Grose, "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1785].

By 1774 it also had come to mean rather the opposite: "odd, strange, bad, queer, spurious," perhaps because it had been so often used approvingly by rogues in reference to one another. Or perhaps this is a different word. This was the main sense after c. 1800.

Rom (or rum) and quier (or queer) enter largely into combination, thus--rom = gallant, fine, clever, excellent, strong; rom-bouse = wine or strong drink; rum-bite = a clever trick or fraud; rum-blowen = a handsome mistress; rum-bung = a full purse; rum-diver = a clever pickpocket; rum-padder = a well-mounted highwayman, etc.: also queere = base, roguish; queer-bung = an empty purse; queer-cole = bad money; queer-diver = a bungling pickpocket; queer-ken = a prison; queer-mort = a foundered whore, and so forth. [John S. Farmer, "Musa Pedestris," 1896]
Advertisement
ramp (n.2)

"coarse, frolicsome girl or woman," mid-15c., rampe, "a virago, shrew," perhaps from early senses of ramp (v.) via the notion of "rear up on the hind legs to attack," hence, of persons, "to attack like a rampant animal." Also compare ramp (n.1). Johnson's Dictionary (1755) has romp: "a rude, awkward, boisterous, untaught girl."

ramshackle (adj.)

"loosely joined, ill-made or out of good condition; chaotic or likely to collapse," 1809, an alternative form of ramshackled, earlier ranshackled (1670s), an alteration of ransackled, past participle of ransackle (from the same source as ransack). "Said chiefly of carriages and houses" [OED]. This form of the word seems to have been originally Scottish.

Reading over this note to an American gentleman, he seemed to take alarm, lest the word ramshackle should be palmed on his country. I take it home willingly, as a Scotticism, and one well applied, as may be afterwards shown. [Robert Gourlay, "General Introduction to a Statistical Account of Upper Canada," London, 1822]

Jamieson's "Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language" (1825) has it as a noun meaning "thoughtless, ignorant fellow."

rambunctious (adj.)

1834, of persons, "arrogantly boisterous, careless of the comfort of others," earlier rumbunctious, 1824, probably altered (by influence of ram) from rumbustious. Compare rantankerous "contentious" (Bartlett), a mid-19c. U.S. colloquial variant of cantankerous.

In all this bisnes the gineral was cute as a rasor. It needed somethin more than a cods-hed tu manage, with sich leger-de-main and hocus pocus, an affair requirin so much dexterity, every scrimptius bit on't havin tu be worked with master skill, with a set of rambunctious fellers who, findin themselves comin out second best warn't never out of the tantrums tu the eend on't. ["Major Jack Downing," "Life of Andrew Jackson," Philadelphia: 1834]