rigmarole

Rigmarole is a good word for talking about situations that involve filling out confusing forms, standing in lines, or following complex rules.

Getting a driver's license, enrolling for college classes, and applying for a visa to travel abroad can all feel like rigmarole. In the 1700s, rigmarole meant "a long rambling discourse." It's thought to be a shortened form of ragman roll, which was a long legal document sewn into a roll in thirteenth century England and Scotland.

Definitions of rigmarole
  1. noun
    a long and complicated and confusing procedure
    “all that academic rigmarole was a waste of time”
    synonyms: rigamarole
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    type of:
    procedure, process
    a particular course of action intended to achieve a result
  2. noun
    a set of confused and meaningless statements
    synonyms: rigamarole
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    type of:
    bunk, hokum, meaninglessness, nonsense, nonsensicality
    a message that seems to convey no meaning
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