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

  • intransitive v. To leave a scene at once; go abruptly.
  • intransitive v. To shut down automatically. Used of a nuclear reactor.
  • n. A rapid shutting down of a nuclear reactor, especially in an emergency.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To abruptly insert the control rods of a nuclear reactor, usually in case of emergency shutdown.
  • n. A rapid shutdown of a nuclear reactor
  • n. Alternative spelling of SCRAM.
  • v. Get out of here; go away (frequently imperative).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. the rapid shut down of a nuclear reactor, as in an emergency.
  • intransitive v. to leave; to go away; used mostly as an impolite command to a person to go away from a specific location.
  • transitive v. to shut down (a nuclear reactor) quickly, as in an emergency.

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

  • v. leave immediately; used usually in the imperative form


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

Perhaps short for scramble.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Attested since 1928, originally as U.S. slang; either:

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Back-formation from SCRAM, most etymology are likely backronyms.


  • O'BRIEN: NASA set a speed record on Saturday with the launch of the unmanned test aircraft called a scram jet.

    CNN Transcript Mar 29, 2004

  • Electrical problems yesterday grounded the so-called scram jet.

    CNN Transcript Nov 16, 2004

  • I didn't hear what she said, so didn't respond, but the person-of-few-words who worked the booth with me said, simply, "scram" and she hustled away.

    Balloon Juice

  • She pulled a switchblade on me, said if I didn't scram she was going to cut me seven ways to Sunday.

    Brick Wall

  • What the people in these countries want is substantial change -- namely freedom and the heads of the regimes to pack their bags and scram.

    Dan Dorfman: Risky Roadmap to $7 a Gallon Gas

  • I know 2 grad students who lost their TAs and 4 postdocs who were given Dec deadlines to scram.

    Economic Status via Google Hits

  • “No, you mook—you grab as many electric toothbrushes as you can, then we scram—got it?”

    The Great Toothbrush Robbery

  • Transformer damage caused the reactor to "scram" or automatically trip out of service Saturday night.

    Irene Knocks Out Power to More Than Five Million

  • "This kind of scram is stressful on the reactor," said Robert Albrecht , a University of Washington professor emeritus of electrical engineering, who has a background in nuclear engineering.

    Japan Plant Had Earlier Alert

  • You put together a nifty consortium of BigWigs – NRC, Electric Power Research Institute, Department of Energy – to simply re-write the laws of physics and claim that some of the control rods are only there to "shape" the reaction, and don't have to fall to shut off the fission during a scram.

    A Pat on the Back for Matzke


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  • Marcs in reverse. Marc is winemaking residue that can be used for distillation.

    November 2, 2007