scapegrace

noun
scape·grace | \ ˈskāp-ˌgrās \

Definition of scapegrace 

: an incorrigible rascal

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Did You Know?

At first glance, you might think "scapegrace" has something in common with "scapegoat," our word for a person who takes the blame for someone else’s mistake or calamity. Indeed, the words do share a common source - the verb "scape," a variant of "escape" that was once far more common than it is today. "Scapegrace," which first appeared in English in the mid-18th century (over 200 years after "scapegoat"), arrived at its meaning through its literal interpretation as "one who has escaped the grace of God." (Two now-obsolete words based on a similar notion are scape-thrift, meaning "spendthrift," and "want-grace," a synonym of "scapegrace.") In ornithological circles, "scapegrace" can also refer to a loon with a red throat, but this sense is rare.

Examples of scapegrace in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Somehow, a theme-park ride combined with clever, madcap visuals and Johnny Depp’s scapegrace showboating added up to something fresh. A. O. Scott, New York Times, "Review: ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales.’ Not Very Well, Anyway.," 25 May 2017

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

First Known Use of scapegrace

1763, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for scapegrace

scape entry 1

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The first known use of scapegrace was in 1763

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occurring twice a year or every two years

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