Definitions

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

  • n. Informal A reprobate; a rascal.
  • n. A white Southerner working for or supporting the federal government during Reconstruction.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any white Southerner who supported the federal plan of Reconstruction after the Civil War or who joined with the black freedmen and the carpetbaggers in support of Republican Party policies.
  • n. A rascal. Alternative spelling of scallywag.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A scamp; a scapegrace.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An under-sized, scraggy, or ill-fed animal of little value.
  • n. A worthless, good-for-nothing, or contemptible fellow; a scamp; a scapegrace.

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

  • n. one who is playfully mischievous
  • n. a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel
  • n. a white Southerner who supported Reconstruction policies after the American Civil War (usually for self-interest)

Etymologies

Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Of Irish origin, "scalawag" refers to a "rascal" and is probably from sgalog a labourer. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • See also scallywag.

    April 26, 2008

  • See also scallywag.

    April 26, 2008

  • I got this word from my mother, whose family goes back to the old West and the post-Civil War south. She used it as a generally disparaging term, and then only rarely.

    April 26, 2008