\ ˈskram How to pronounce scram (audio) \
scrammed; scramming

Definition of scram

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to go away at once scram, you're not wanted



Definition of scram (Entry 2 of 2)

: a rapid emergency shutdown of a nuclear reactor

Examples of scram in a Sentence

Verb The vandals scrammed before the police could arrive.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As of now, one man sits on a small dock off each island, telling onlookers to scram. Danielle Paquette, Washington Post, "U.S. lab chimps were dumped on Liberia’s Monkey Island and left to starve. He saved them.," 12 Dec. 2019 When Fleck makes a young boy on the bus laugh with his goofy faces, he’s immediately met with a threat from the boy’s mother to cut it out and scram. David Betancourt, Washington Post, "‘Joker’ trailer shows the laughs on the road to insanity," 28 Aug. 2019 In three seasons with the Pacers (before Donnie Walsh ditched him after Indiana brought back Larry Bird) and two more with the Knicks (before Walsh, again, told him to scram), Thomas has a 187-223 record (.456). Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons should consider Isiah Thomas, says Charles Barkley," 8 May 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But initially, safety protocols kicked in; called a scram, the protocols led to control rods being inserted into the reactors to shut down the nuclear reactions and bring the plant to a halt. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "An insider’s perspective on Fukushima and everything that came after," 5 Oct. 2018 The quake itself caused the operating reactors to scram (shut down) as they were designed to do. Andrew Karam, Popular Mechanics, "Five Years Later, Cutting Through the Fukushima Myths," 11 Mar. 2016 Stay in the customs union and single market — or scram? William Booth, Washington Post, "Britian’s Theresa May is trying to keep E.U. ‘divorce’ from going totally off the rails," 21 Sep. 2017 The nukes, as people who work in such plants are called, refer to the sudden shutdown of fission as a scram. Washington Post, "AP WAS THERE: Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident," 30 May 2017

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


circa 1928, in the meaning defined above


1953, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for scram


short for scramble

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Time Traveler for scram

Time Traveler

The first known use of scram was circa 1928

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Cite this Entry

“Scram.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for scram


How to pronounce scram (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of scram

informal + old-fashioned : to leave immediately


\ ˈskram How to pronounce scram (audio) \
scrammed; scramming

Kids Definition of scram

: to go away at once
Hint: Scram is often used as a command. Scram! Get out of here!

More from Merriam-Webster on scram

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scram

Nglish: Translation of scram for Spanish Speakers

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