Definitions

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

  • n. One that is playfully mischievous.
  • n. An unscrupulous, dishonest person; a scoundrel.
  • adj. Archaic Made up of, belonging to, or relating to the common people: "Nor shall the Rascal Rabble here have Peace” ( John Dryden).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Someone who is naughty; either playfully mischievous or a troublemaker, a dishonest person, a scoundrel.
  • n. A member of a criminal gang in Papua New Guinea.
  • adj. low(ly), part of or belonging to the common rabble

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of the rabble; a low, common sort of person or creature; collectively, the rabble; the common herd; also, a lean, ill-conditioned beast, esp. a deer.
  • n. A mean, trickish fellow; a base, dishonest person; a rogue; a scoundrel; a trickster.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to the common herd or common people; low; mean; base.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The commonalty of people; the vulgar herd; the general mass.
  • n. In hunting, a refuse or despicable beast or class of beasts; an animal, or animals collectively, unfit to chase or to kill, on account of ignoble quality or lean condition; especially, a lean deer.
  • n. A low or vulgar person; one of the rabble; a boor or churl.
  • n. A low or mean fellow; a tricky, dishonest person; a rogue; a knave; a scamp: used in objurgation with much latitude, and often, like rogue, with slight meaning. Compare rascally.
  • Paltry; worthless; unworthy of consideration; in a special use, unfit for the chase, as a lean deer: used of things or animals.
  • Low; mean; base; common; ignoble; vulgar; knavish: used of persons, formerly with reference to class or occupation, but now only with an implication of moral baseness or dishonesty.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. one who is playfully mischievous
  • n. a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel

Etymologies

Middle English rascaile, rabble, commoners, from Old French rascaille, probably from rasque, mud, from Vulgar Latin *rāsicāre, to scrape; see rash2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Recorded since c.1330, as Middle English rascaile ("people of the lowest class, rabble of an army"), derived from 12th century Old French rascaille ("outcast, rabble") (modern French racaille), perhaps from rasque ("mud, filth, scab, dregs"), from Vulgar Latin *rasicare ("to scrape"). The singular form is first attested in 1461; the present extended sense of "low, dishonest person" is from early 1586. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • JUST as the Hopkinsons had finished breakfast the following morning, they were surprised by an early visit from Willis, who seemed to be in a state of unusual excitement; and instead of the congratulations they had expected, he burst out with something like an oath, adding, And the rascal is actually gone – went off while the dancing was going on; the police were waiting for him at the station, but I suppose he had good intelligence, for he got into a steamer, and has not been heard of since.

    The Semi-Detached House

  • The rascal is greedy as a Badaw and moreover he is a liar, which the

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • So he told him what had befallen him and added, If I know whither the rascal is gone and where to find the knave, I would pay him out.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • | Reply that rascal is fixing me good whenever i look at this picture

    EXTRALIFE – By Scott Johnson - From VCR to cat feeder

  • The young rascal is a girl in boy's clothes, sir! said the officer who had the culprit in custody.

    The Hidden Hand

  • My uncle started at the word rascal; and then recovering himself, replied, "Well, nephew, what is it that you require of Lord Privilege, for I presume this visit is not without a cause?"

    Peter Simple; and, The Three Cutters, Vol. 1-2

  • My uncle started at the word rascal; and then recovering himself, replied, "Well, nephew what is it that you require of Lord Privilege, for I presume this visit is not without a cause?"

    Peter Simple

  • He could not however bridle his tongue -- he pronounced the word rascal with great emphasis; said he deserved to be hanged more than a highwayman, and wished he had the scourging him.

    Joseph Andrews, Volume 2

  • Rob Anderscal - This "rascal" - as the name implies - is a trouble-maker extraordinaire.

    Liblogs.ca latest blog entries

  • That is what dignity does for you, you rascal, that is dignity! ...

    The Double

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Hello darkness my old friend it breaks my heart
    I’ve come to strangle you in spite of what you’d like
    And don’t be a rascal, don’t be a laughing dog in spite of odds
    All I’m deciphering from the spirits in the light within
    All delighted people raise their hands

    ("All delighted people", by Sufjan Stevens)

    March 8, 2011