rascal

noun

ras·​cal ˈra-skəl How to pronounce rascal (audio)
1
: a mean, unprincipled, or dishonest person
2
: a mischievous person or animal
rascal adjective

Examples of rascal in a Sentence

Which one of you rascals woke me up?
Recent Examples on the Web The normal sitcom relationship is a nagging hottie and her rascal of a husband. Vulture, 29 Oct. 2023 Almodóvar goes back in history to romanticize it: Mexican rancher Silva (Pedro Pascal) rides into Bitter Creek and pleads for the life of his outlaw son to Sheriff Jake (Ethan Hawke), who is obligated to arrest the rascal. Armond White, National Review, 27 Oct. 2023 Depp plays his charming rascal in the lightheaded manner of a man who has either been in the sun too long or knows something no one else does. Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 July 2023 Order one and feed everyone at your dad’s 70th birthday party, the rascals on your kid’s school excursion, or yourself—for about 66 days straight. Li Goldstein, Bon Appétit, 7 July 2023 James Gunn’s band of galactic rascals are proving their worth at the box office as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 enjoys one of the best second-weekend holds of any title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 May 2023 These rascals were also more successful at producing offspring. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 24 Apr. 2023 Is Jim Kirk a more charming rascal than Han Solo? Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 24 June 2022 There’s an interesting precedent to Disney’s reluctance to experiment with moral ambiguity, as Walt Disney originally depicted Mickey Mouse as a bit of a rascal, but as the rodent became increasingly popular, he was flattened out into a dorky do-gooder. Dani Di Placido, Forbes, 20 Jan. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rascal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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).

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near rascal

Cite this Entry

“Rascal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rascal. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

rascal

noun
ras·​cal ˈras-kəl How to pronounce rascal (audio)
1
: a mean or dishonest person
2
: a mischievous person

More from Merriam-Webster on rascal

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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