This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Word To Use Today: ragamuffin.

Not all kids nowadays get the chance to explore the deep and fundamental fun of filth.

Ragamuffin (meaning a scruffy child) is too lovely a word not to use, though, so if you do happen to have a child about the place then do encourage it to explore a few thickets, or roll about in the dust or mud a bit.

However, if you'd prefer a clean, cuddly ragamuffin then you can have one of those, too:


The ragamuffin cat is the result of high and dangerous passions amongst cat-breeders. The Ragdoll breed of cat was strictly controlled by its originator, and, partly as a result of this, Ragdoll cats came to be bred with other sorts of cat with the aim of producing a new breed as friendly as the Ragdoll. The ragamuffin cat came into being in the USA in the 1990s.

The 1980s had also seen the appearance of a new sort of raggamuffin, this time in the French Antilles. (No, raggamuffin really spelt like that in this case, with two gs.) 

Raggamuffin music started when a musician called Kassav began using MIDI technology to record instrumental tracks. Wayne Smith's "Under Me Sleng Teng" was produced by King Jammy in 1985 on a Casio MT-40 synthesizer. It's generally recognized as the seminal ragga (which was short for raggamuffin) song.

 Raggamuffin Hip-Hop Mix Old School by Numan70ex.
There we are. Three sorts of rag(g)amuffins.
And all just the coolest of cool cats.
Word To Use Today: rag(g)amuffin. This word arrived in English in the 1300s when it appeared in the poem Piers Plowman as the name of a demon. The name for the cat was originally an affectionate nickname based on Ragdoll. Ragamuffin entered Jamaican patois after the British colonized Jamaica in the 1600s, and later the young people of Jamaican youth appropriated it as a badge of honour.

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