ras·​cal | \ ˈra-skəl How to pronounce rascal (audio) \

Definition of rascal

1 : a mean, unprincipled, or dishonest person
2 : a mischievous person or animal

Other Words from rascal

rascal adjective

Examples of rascal in a Sentence

Which one of you rascals woke me up? some cold-blooded rascal had set the barn afire, killing all of the horses
Recent Examples on the Web Musk also seems to like being a minor rascal, Morrison says. Simon Constable, Time, 8 Apr. 2022 The consummate newswoman, but a rascal with a sense of humor. Angelique Jackson, Variety, 3 Mar. 2022 Bruno Dumont knows there’s more than one way to skin a media rascal. Armond White, National Review, 5 Jan. 2022 Edwards tried to tell the groundskeepers and gameday staffers how to defend the rascal. Greg Moore, The Arizona Republic, 8 Nov. 2021 Still at home, though, is William and Kate Middleton's youngest, Prince Louis—who also happens to be a bit of a Zoom rascal. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, 11 Sep. 2020 Though a severe and exacting scholar, Trevor-Roper was attracted to clever rascals, especially those whose antics played upon the endless credulity of the human mind and the gullibility of bureaucratic institutions. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, 26 Feb. 2020 Sonic is every inch the peppy, computerized rascal he's supposed to be, sporting oversize eyes and lacking rows of realistic human teeth. Frank Pallotta, CNN, 14 Feb. 2020 Oregon is chock-a-block with its own cast of rogues and rascals who stumble into strange situations or wind up on the wrong side of the law. oregonlive, 26 Dec. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of rascal

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rascal

Middle English rascaile, rascaille, borrowed from Anglo-French rascaille, rascail "rabble," from rasc- (perhaps from Old French —Norman and Picard— *rasquer "to scratch, scrape," going back to Vulgar Latin *rāsicāre) + -aille, collective suffix, going back to Latin -ālia — more at rash entry 1, -al entry 2

Note: Though this etymology works semantically (cf., for example, the sense development of English scum, Russian svoloč'), it is unclear if *rasquer is a possible outcome of *rāsicāre in Norman/Picard. Note that the word is exclusively Anglo-Norman in earlier Medieval French (from the twelfth century), from which it appears to have penetrated into other dialects (see Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, vol. 10, pp. 88-89).

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The first known use of rascal was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Rascal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rascal. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for rascal


ras·​cal | \ ˈra-skəl How to pronounce rascal (audio) \

Kids Definition of rascal

1 : a usually young mischievous person
2 : a mean or dishonest person

More from Merriam-Webster on rascal

Nglish: Translation of rascal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rascal for Arabic Speakers


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