rap·​scal·​lion | \ rap-ˈskal-yən How to pronounce rapscallion (audio) \

Definition of rapscallion

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The word rascal has been part of English since the 15th century, but on its own it apparently didn’t quite capture the disagreeable nature of the wily knaves of yore. By the 17th century, English speakers had modified "rascal" to create "rascallion." But it seems that even that term didn’t sound quite mischievous enough. By the century’s end, "rascallion" had been further altered to create "rapscallion." Today, "rapscallion" is still commonly used as a synonym for "blackguard," "scoundrel," and "miscreant." "Rascallion" is still around as well, but it’s very rare.

Examples of rapscallion in a Sentence

the city's run-down waterfront was occupied mostly by disreputable places frequented by drunkards and rapscallions that little rapscallion kept hiding my shoes and making me go look for them
Recent Examples on the Web Now, rather than pirates offering brides for a price, the rapscallions are auctioning goods taken from villagers. Scott Craven, USA TODAY, "Disneyland's 'Pirates' ride to reopen with new female pirate, without bride auction," 7 June 2018 The embattled First Order military man could be the most stressed-out guy in the galaxy, first watching as Starkiller Base was blown sky high and then having to chase various rapscallions in the Resistance. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "The 40 best movie characters in 40 years of 'Star Wars,' ranked," 13 Dec. 2017 Three distinctive singers—Pretty Yende, Peter Mattei, and Dmitry Korchak—head up the cast as Rossini’s lovable rapscallions; Maurizio Benini. The New Yorker, "The Met: “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”," 8 Feb. 2017 Jack’s rapscallions have shifting loyalties, Pirates antagonist Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) returns, and Henry and Carina’s growing relationship drowns in this dizzying whirlpool of personalities, including a heavily bearded Paul McCartney. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Review: Johnny Depp's 'Pirates of the Caribbean' rights ship with 'Dead Men'," 22 May 2017 In the movie, credited to four screenwriters (including Mr. Schreiber), and directed by Philippe Falardeau, Wepner is a more or less lovable rapscallion, whose relentless post-Ali-bout partying features a disastrous introduction to cocaine. Glenn Kenny, New York Times, "Review: Inside the Ring With ‘Chuck,’ the Real-Life Rocky," 3 May 2017 Pretty Yende, Peter Mattei, and Javier Camarena—head up the cast as Rossini’s lovable rapscallions; Maurizio Benini. The New Yorker, "The Met: “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”," 13 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rapscallion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rapscallion

1699, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rapscallion

alteration of earlier rascallion, irregular from rascal

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The first known use of rapscallion was in 1699

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Cite this Entry

“Rapscallion.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rapscallion. Accessed 20 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on rapscallion

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rapscallion

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rapscallion

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not to be intimidated or subdued

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