Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A freebooting soldier of 17th-century Ireland.
  • n. A bandit or robber.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a bandit, brigand

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A wild Irish plunderer, esp. one of the 17th century; -- so called from his carrying a half-pike, called a rapary.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An armed Irish plunderer; in general, a vagabond.

Etymologies

Irish Gaelic rapaire, variant of ropaire, cutpurse, from ropaid, he stabs.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
from Irish rapaire, variant of ropaire ("cutpurse"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He would appear to be under the impression we are a band of rapparee fifers.

    At Swim, Two Boys

  • Denis Ryan -- th 'ould rapparee, he wint afther us harrd -- in that last case.

    The Luck of the Mounted A Tale of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police

  • "Yes! wance -- an '' Father, 'th' ould rapparee! he went for me baldheaded for not reporthin 'ut tu."

    The Luck of the Mounted A Tale of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police

  • How him an 'his blood-cousin, Tim Moriarty, lay wan night for an' ould rapparee av a landlord, who'd evicted pore Tim out av house an 'home.

    The Luck of the Mounted A Tale of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police

  • The jingles on the King of France, against the Scots in the time of James I., against the Tory, or Irish rapparee, and about the Gunpowder Plot, are of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

    The Nursery Rhyme Book

  • I nipped over the border like a shot, and about ten miles the other side, in a nullah, my rapparee-in-charge showed me about seventy men variously armed, but standing up like a Queen's company.

    Stalky & Co.

  • Muller refute my opinion by urging that 'a Tory meant originally an Irish rapparee, 'or whatever the word _did_ originally mean?

    Modern Mythology

  • Pat would not: his ears tossed over his head, and he jumped to right and left, and looked the raggedest rapparee that ever his ancestry trotted after.

    Evan Harrington — Volume 4

  • This rapparee promised him mountains of wealth, and an English company was found to advance large sums of money --- I fear on Sir Arthur's guarantee.

    The Antiquary

  • "They were called Rapparees," Mr. Malone says, "from being armed with a half-pike, called by the Irish a _rapparee_."

    Rookwood

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Comments

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  • An Irish pikeman or irregular soldier, of the kind prominent during the war of 1688-92; hence, an Irish bandit, robber, or freebooter.

    Sure, call them names, but they're famed in song and story... See?

    Of one such man I'd like to speak
    A rapparee by name and deed
    His family dispossessed and slaughtered
    They put a price upon his head
    His name is known in song and story
    His deeds are legends still
    And murdered for blood money
    Was young Ned of the hill
    --"Young Ned of the Hill," the Pogues, c. 1989 Terry Woods & Ron Kavana

    February 7, 2007