: an incorrigible rascal
"He embarks on an arduous ocean voyage to America, where he faces swindlers and scapegraces, and nearly dies of malaria—and maintains his sunny demeanor throughout." — Scot Lehigh, The Boston Globe, 1 Jan. 2016
"Theodore Roosevelt styled himself an incorruptible politician untainted by scandal. But in his path to the White House lay a troubling obstacle: his scapegrace brother, Elliott." — The Daily Beast, 19 Nov. 2016
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.
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of scapegrace: r _ _ sc _ l _ _on.VIEW THE ANSWER
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