Definition of scallywag in English:

scallywag

(North American scalawag)

noun

informal
  • 1A person, typically a child, who behaves badly but in an amusingly mischievous rather than harmful way; a rascal.

    ‘that scallywag of a son of yours’
    • ‘Both events have been held here for the last 12 years and, of course there are occasional minor incidents, but to say we attract scallywags who do this kind of thing is quite wrong.’
    • ‘And the owner of the property was no doubt a scallywag, trying to defraud the lessee of his money, and threatening to ‘throw [his] things on the street’.’
    • ‘To hardened scallywags in uniform, Lacson vows, in rather dramatic language: ‘We shall scorch the earth beneath you.’’
    • ‘And I still will do this, because scallywags and tellers of tall tales though some of 'em may be, them's my buddies.’
    • ‘I also know that if any of these so-called scallywags of the public eye were to sit down and have a one to one conversation with me - they wouldn't last a minute.’
    • ‘And what of this UN gang where cs so desperately wants us to appear hip and cool - what are those scallywags up to?’
    • ‘They go on to become anti-social scallywags who spend their evenings harassing local shopkeepers, kicking in bus stops and mugging other kids.’
    • ‘Despite the unfamiliarity to the town, Virginia already began to understand that Port Royal was a developed trading town rather than a metropolis such as London, prone to scallywags and dirt, but also housing the finest of Englanders.’
    • ‘Take off your masks, all you scallywags, and release the politics.’
    • ‘One of the essential skills is identifying the difference between a potential threat, and a hapless scallywag.’
    • ‘She said: ‘He always wanted what he called his scallywags around him, and he had them at the end.’’
    • ‘The scallywags and street urchins of 1920s Kingston had come up with a new way of extracting a few pennies from unsuspecting members of the public.’
    • ‘Any scallywag could have lifted my letters out hoping to find something of value.’
    • ‘I shall not need a horror mask when I open the door to the young scallawags who come trick or treating on Hallowe'en.’
    • ‘Deliver us a white knight, a true and brave soul who can rid us of scoundrels, scalawags and in-it-for-themselves special interests.’
    • ‘The problem with the young scallywags of today is that they don't have any respect for their elders and betters.’
    • ‘There was a friendly copper on every beat who knew the young scallywags and gave them a clip round the ear, and sent them on their way, if he caught the stealing the Squire's apples.’
    • ‘Parts of Soho have a slightly seedy reputation, but we decided that being shown around responsibly by two adults would effectively remove the possibility of the two scallywags getting into mischief.’
    • ‘Haven't the old and the middle classes always felt terrorised by gangs of young, uncouth scoundrels and scallywags loitering in the shadows of our cities?’
    • ‘The legal beagle started his day in court at 10.30 am and by 12.50 pm had despatched three scallywags to the cells.’
    rascal, monkey, devil, imp, rogue, wretch, mischief-maker, troublemaker, prankster
    View synonyms
  • 2US A white Southerner who collaborated with northern Republicans during the post-Civil War reconstruction period.

    • ‘Most southwestern scalawags were Douglas Democrats in 1860, while most Upper South and southeastern scalawags were Whigs who supported the Constitutional Union candidacy of John Bell.’
    • ‘Bust times inevitably recall repressed myths of gallant cavalry laid low by Northern treachery and an economy ravaged by carpetbaggers and scalawags.’

Origin

Mid 19th century: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation:

scallywag

/ˈskalɪwaɡ/