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

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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 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, "Archie Likes to Crash Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Zoom Calls," 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, "‘The Professor and the Parson’ tries to make sense of a narcissistic con man who fooled nearly everyone," 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, "Can 'Sonic the Hedgehog' outrun the video game curse at the box office?," 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, "Meth, bar beefs, bikini coffee beatdowns: 12 weird and wild Oregon crime stories in 2019," 26 Dec. 2019 Getty Images Prince George, royal rascal, is somehow already six years old. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Prince George's 6th Birthday Portraits Are the Best Ones Yet," 21 July 2019 Ballplayers, Bouton revealed, could be boozing, womanizing, pill-popping, ball-scuffing rascals — overgrown teenagers, that is. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "Jim Bouton Opened Up the Major Leagues to Everyone," 11 July 2019 Tepolt drops several of the rascals into a test tube. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Cracking the secret of green crabs," 6 Aug. 2019 No brewery or bar wants to be known as the destination for every parent whose energetic little rascals want to spark sandbox drama. Andrew Simmons, SFChronicle.com, "Kid-friendly taprooms booming in the East Bay. Is that a good thing?," 13 Aug. 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for rascal

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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 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for rascal



English Language Learners Definition of rascal

informal + humorous : a person and especially a young person who causes trouble or does things that annoy people
old-fashioned : a cruel or dishonest man


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

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