from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A poor migratory farm worker in Ireland, often viewed as a rascal or mischievous and cunning person.
  • n. A good-for-nothing person, often used so-named during a good humored ridicule.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A scamp; an Irish term for a good-for-nothing fellow; -- often used in good-humored contempt or ridicule.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A mean fellow; a rascal: a term of contempt, or of contemptuous pity, for a man or boy.


A late 18th century term, From Irish spailpĂ­n. (Wiktionary)



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  • Really Irish, but used for itinerant Irish workers who came to Scotland looking for work.

    March 15, 2009