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

Definition of rapscallion

: a person who causes trouble : rascal, ne'er-do-well If a little prince with a permissive nanny can get bumptious on occasion, a regal rapscallion without any nanny could fast become a royal pain.People Weekly The kidnapper is none other than the nefarious Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman), who still hasn't gotten over the loss of his hand. That rapscallion Peter Pan is to blame, and Hook will have his revenge.— Nora Lee Growing up, my best friends were my siblings. While we fought like only brother and sisters could fight, I was quick to defend their honor, or protect them from the rapscallion of our childhood world.— Stephanie Hill

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

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 Surprisingly, the timeliest as well as the rudest painting show of this winter, opening at the New Museum, happens to be the first New York museum survey ever of the American aesthetic rapscallion Peter Saul. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The In-Your-Face Paintings of Peter Saul," 10 Feb. 2020 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.

See More

First Known Use of rapscallion

1648, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rapscallion

alteration of earlier rascallion, irregular from rascal

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rapscallion

Time Traveler for rapscallion

Time Traveler

The first known use of rapscallion was in 1648

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about rapscallion

Statistics for rapscallion

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rapscallion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rapscallion. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

More from Merriam-Webster on rapscallion

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rapscallion

Comments on rapscallion

What made you want to look up rapscallion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!