: an incorrigible rascal
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.
"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
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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