noun \ˈska-li-ˌwag\

: a usually young person who causes trouble

Full Definition of SCALAWAG

:  a white Southerner acting in support of the reconstruction governments after the American Civil War often for private gain

Variants of SCALAWAG

scal·a·wag or scal·ly·wag \ˈska-li-ˌwag\

Examples of SCALAWAG

  1. <a scalawag who had taken to begging on street corners while posing as a blind person>

Origin of SCALAWAG

origin unknown
First Known Use: circa 1848

Other History Terms

agonistic, carpetbagger, enceinte, fief, historiography, paladin


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

U.S. Southerner who supported Reconstruction. Opponents also applied the pejorative term to those who joined with carpetbaggers and freedmen to support Republican Party policies. The term, of unknown origin, was used from the 1840s to denote a worthless farm animal and later a worthless person. Scalawags included former Whigs and hill-country farmers with Unionist sympathies and constituted nearly 20% of the white electorate after the American Civil War. Many held government positions in the South and advocated moderate reforms.


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