To be boisterous, rough, unruly, noisy and lacking any restraint.
Etymology: Rambunctious was first used in print in 1830 in the United States. It may have been coined to capture something of the identity and character of the young, rapidly growing nation.
It may have been derived from the British word, “rumbustious,” which had a similar meaning. Both words were likely formed by a combination of “robust,” “boisterous” and “bumptious.”
Rumbustious may also derive from an 18th-century slang definition of “rum,” “having a good time.”
Related words that were coined back then include rambumptious, an overly self-assertive, conceited person, rambuskious, a rough person and ramgumptious, a shrewd, bold, rash person.
Rambunctious is used most often nowadays to describe the happy, loud playfulness of young children and animals.
In a Sentence
I love walking the fields in the spring and watching the young, rambunctious lambs butting and climbing up on one another.
The rambunctious toddler laughed and swung his arms while running around the living room as the adults smiled at his antics.
She tried unsuccessfully to round up the litter of rambunctious, romping puppies.