Definitions

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

  • n. A dissolute person; a rake.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. dissolute
  • n. A lewd or wanton person.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A lewd, dissolute fellow; a debauchee; a rake.
  • adj. Dissolute; wild; lewd; rakish.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Dissolute; base; profligate.
  • n. An abandoned fellow; a wicked wretch; especially, a dissolute fellow; a rake.

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

  • n. a dissolute man in fashionable society

Etymologies

Possibly by folk etymology from obsolete rackle, headstrong, from Middle English rakel, perhaps from raken, to go.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Rake originated from the old English term 'rakehell' and was coined because of the belief that one could only find such a horrible person after scouring through hell with a rake.

    Shaister Miester Do Da

  • Her brothers were rogues—or had been—and her father had been the worst rakehell ever, but to her knowledge none of them had ever trifled with the servants, not even Oliver when he was in his wild phase and had lived in a bachelor house of his own.

    How to Woo a Reluctant Lady

  • Posted December 19, 2004 10: 48 PM rakehell writes:

    Friedman on the Battle of Ideas, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • I took my half-day on Wednesday, and naturally on that day the king and his bosom friend, the known rakehell George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham, attended the early performance.

    Exit the Actress

  • He read out: ‘This known bon viveur, Wit, rakehell, and royal intimate, has abducted Mistress Elizabeth Malet, the great heiress of the North, who is only sixteen years old!’

    Exit the Actress

  • A young rakehell who frequented too many unsavory taverns?

    Johanna Lindsey

  • The first section of Eyre's memoir, Utopia and Other Places (1993), is titled "Long Shadows", and describes how nearly every member of the family seems in thrall to half-remembered stories about its past, not least its Irish ancestry (a roofless country house in the west of Ireland; rakehell tales of carousing and bankruptcy).

    A life in theatre: Richard Eyre

  • A rakehell rogue notorious for his devil-may-care antics, Lucas Bingham--the Earl of Hadley--is not accused of murdering anything--save for the rules of Polite Society.

    Archive 2010-02-01

  • Posted February 13, 2006 10:23 AM rakehell writes:

    Drain Our Brains: It's the Law!, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • Posted December 31, 2005 11:54 PM rakehell writes: "The difficulty of all of this is that it makes it very hard for a company or school to discriminate in hiring based on the grades of applicants."

    College Illiteracy, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Comments

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  • He approached Baryba and stared at him with his glassy eyes, booming away: 'Well, and we never hoped to see you again, my boy. People were saying you got to be a regular rakehell. We thought the woman would ride you to death. That Chebotarikha, she's a glutton, she could gobble a man, bones and all.'

    - Yevgeny Zamyatin, A Provincial Tale, in The Dragon & Other Stories (tr. Mirra Ginsburg)

    July 4, 2009