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[ras-kuh l] /ˈræs kəl/
a base, dishonest, or unscrupulous person.
a mischievous person or animal:
That child is a real rascal.
Origin of rascal
1300-50; Middle English rascaile, raskaille < Old French rascaille rabble; perhaps akin to rash2
Related forms
rascallike, adjective
1. rapscallion, scamp, villain, miscreant, scapegrace. See knave. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for rascal
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Fortunately for me he is a rascal, a man without any principle, in whom avarice is a more powerful feeling than justice.

    Mark Hurdlestone Susanna Moodie
  • There is not a rascal among them but loves you better than me.

    Maid Marian Thomas Love Peacock
  • Because, sticking my head out the hatchway for a taste of air, I heard the rascal captain prattling with the scoundrel mate.

    The Road to Paris Robert Neilson Stephens
  • Oh, what tears I wept for that man, whom I did not know at all—who was a rascal or perhaps a hero!

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • The rascal must have stripped the tree, and it is the first year it has borne.

    Bessie among the Mountains Joanna H. Mathews
British Dictionary definitions for rascal


a disreputable person; villain
a mischievous or impish rogue
an affectionate or mildly reproving term for a child or old man: you little rascal, the wicked old rascal kissed her
(obsolete) a person of lowly birth
(prenominal) (obsolete)
  1. belonging to the mob or rabble
  2. dishonest; knavish
Word Origin
C14: from Old French rascaille rabble, perhaps from Old Norman French rasque mud, filth
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rascal

mid-14c., rascaile "people of the lowest class, rabble of an army," also singular, "low, tricky, dishonest person," from Old French rascaille "rabble, mob" (12c., Modern French racaille, "the rascality or base and rascall sort, the scumme, dregs, offals, outcasts, of any company" [Cotgrave, French-English Dictionary, 1611]), perhaps a diminutive from Old French rascler, from Vulgar Latin *rasicare "to scrape" (see rash (n.)). Used also in Middle English of animals not hunted as game.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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