scal·​a·​wag | \ ˈska-li-ˌwag How to pronounce scalawag (audio) \
variants: or

Definition of scalawag

2 : a white Southerner acting in support of the reconstruction governments after the American Civil War often for private gain

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Examples of scalawag in a Sentence

a scalawag who had taken to begging on street corners while posing as a blind person

Recent Examples on the Web

The Old West has been larger than life ever since the first dime novelists made legends out of lawmen, outlaws, and assorted frontier scalawags. Patricia Harris,, "Thundering out of an iconic American past: The Buffalo Roundup in South Dakota’s Custer State Park," 20 Aug. 2019 Mark Twain's Mississippi, alive with steamboats, scalawags, and gamblers, has a hold on us still. CBS News, "A trip down the mighty Mississippi," 7 July 2019 Salvatore Lodi made his debut as Little Mouse, while Kellan Hayag was a floppy-haired, scampering scalawag Fritz. Laura Bleiberg,, "ABT's 'Nutcracker,' a new classic worth watching over and over (and over)," 11 Dec. 2017 Back on their own ship, the scalawags must decide how to divvy up the booty. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "Riddle of the Week #17: The Pirates and Their Booty," 23 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scalawag.' 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 scalawag

circa 1848, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for scalawag

origin unknown

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Statistics for scalawag

Last Updated

30 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for scalawag

The first known use of scalawag was circa 1848

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More Definitions for scalawag



English Language Learners Definition of scalawag

informal + somewhat old-fashioned : a usually young person who causes trouble


variants: or scallywag \ ˈska-​li-​ˌwag \

Kids Definition of scalawag

More from Merriam-Webster on scalawag

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scalawag

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scalawag Encyclopedia article about scalawag

Comments on scalawag

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


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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