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Terrence Neilan

Posted by James Briggs on May 03, 2010 at 15:50

In Reply to: Terrence Neilan posted by David FG on May 03, 2010 at 11:08:

: : This is one I've used all my life... don't know how it came to be in my vocab. - rigamaroll, as in "a unit" - "I don't understand this rigamaroll".

: 'Rigmarole' doesn't mean 'a unit', but is defined by the OED as: "A succession of incoherent statements; an unconnected or rambling discourse; a long-winded harangue of little meaning or importance" and "A succession of tiresome duties; a lengthy procedure; a fuss, a 'palaver'."

: It is a corruption of the earlier 'Ragman Roll', defined as 'A list or catalogue; spec. (in early use) a list of accusations or offences.'


This 700 year old expression began life as The Ragman Roll, a document with many pendant seals given to King Edward I in 1291 by Scottish noblemen. Each nobleman signed a deed of loyalty and the King affixed his seal. All the deeds were eventually joined together to produce The Ragman Roll. The Roll is kept in the Public Records Office in London and is 12 metres long.