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[skamp] /skæmp/
an unscrupulous and often mischievous person; rascal; rogue; scalawag.
a playful, mischievous, or naughty young person; upstart.
a grouper, Mycteroperca phenax, of Florida: so called from its habit of stealing bait.
verb (used with object)
to do or perform in a hasty or careless manner:
to scamp work.
Origin of scamp
obsolete Dutch
1775-85; obsolete scamp to travel about idly or for mischief, perhaps < obsolete Dutch schampen to be gone < Old French escamper to decamp
Related forms
scamper, noun
scampingly, adverb
scampish, adjective
scampishly, adverb
scampishness, noun
unscamped, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for scamp
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Richard Foliott had been a scamp at heart from his boyhood; but he had contrived to keep well before the world.

    Johnny Ludlow, Third Series Mrs. Henry Wood
  • To “vamp” is equal, in musical language, to 34“scamp” or to dodge up.

    Happy-Thought Hall F. C. Burnand
  • Justice will be enforced against that scamp of a Black John?

  • But then he must be on the lookout to see that they do not "scamp" it.

    The Toilers of the Field Richard Jefferies
  • There is a great deal of good in Savinien, and that is why he is now in prison; a scamp wouldn't have got there.

    Ursula Honore de Balzac
  • "I am thinking it is some scamp that has heard how soft you are," he remarked, as he read the letter.

    Grey Town Gerald Baldwin
  • Of course the man was a scamp, and had no business; and Mr. Raymond gave him his gold piece to take him, and all!

    Hildegarde's Home Laura E. Richards
  • Have you entrusted the Sultan's diamonds to the care of a scamp like this?

  • So that scamp, What's-his-name, the nephew, will come in for it all.

    That Unfortunate Marriage, Vol. 3(of 3) Frances Eleanor Trollope
British Dictionary definitions for scamp


an idle mischievous person; rascal
a mischievous child
Derived Forms
scampish, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from scamp (vb) to be a highway robber, probably from Middle Dutch schampen to decamp, from Old French escamper, from es-ex-1 + -camper, from Latin campus field


a less common word for skimp
Derived Forms
scamper, noun
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 scamp

1782, "highway robber," probably from dialectal verb scamp "to roam" (1753, perhaps from 16c.), shortened from scamper. Used affectionately in sense "rascal" since 1808.


"do in a hasty manner," 1837, perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse skemma "to shorten, make shorter," from skammr "short; brief; lately"), or a blend of scant and skimp [Klein], or a back-formation from scamper. Related: Scamped; scamping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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