One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A person, especially a child, who is mischievous in a likeable or amusing way.‘some little scamp stuffed tissue paper in between the hammer and the bell’
rascal, monkey, devil, imp, rogue, wretch, mischief-maker, troublemaker, pranksterView synonyms
- ‘We are supposed to think that they're adorably life-affirming, unreconstructed old scamps, but I have never seen a more charmless and conceited bunch.’
- ‘You may baulk at forking out your hard-earned cash for these extravagantly self-obsessed, petulant, little scamps.’
- ‘While their classmates were courting concussion with head-banging, these young scamps would borrow equipment from electronic stores to ‘test them out’, use them to make music, then exchange them for different items.’
- ‘If the little scamp tries anything, I'll be on his throat in a second, as will these guards around here.’
- ‘That's why - in a recent internal e-mail sent round the publishing company - those star-beckoning scamps placed a well-known musician atop their priority list.’
- ‘Nothing new there, you might reply, you cheeky young scamps, and I'm hardly in much of a position to persuade you otherwise.’
- ‘The cheating scandal upset Maxwell and Anthony so much that they put salt in his sugar, the naughty scamps.’
- ‘He's a bit of a charming scamp, a perfect fit for the exuberant, free-wheeling '60s.’
- ‘Everything he's been through, no matter what life throws at him, he's still a little scamp, who loves his family and behaves like any other intelligent, sometimes naughty boy.’
- ‘One of the main differences we'll find it in is the way the familiar angels and devils are caricatured in a innocent-looking style, but that's deceiving; they are scamps, mischievous and even violent characters.’
- ‘So, if you're in the Manchester area and you see someone with their fingers tightly crossed, it may not be because some cheeky young scamps have been playing games with superglue.’
- ‘The DVD features the entire first season, 13 episodes, that find the four scamps in every imaginable sort of scrape.’
- ‘He tells us when he has a hangover, and he swears a lot, the scamp.’
- ‘Apparently, many underage Korean scamps borrow adults' resident registration numbers and credit card numbers to log onto adult sites.’
- ‘A retreat into a redemptive enclave of winkingly open-minded post-Marxist scamps, it's nearly pristine in its high-minded tomfoolery.’
- ‘While the uber-gathering is undoubtedly for a highly worthwhile cause, both Noel and Damon have raised their hands like cheeky classroom scamps and announced that they have a few ‘issues’ with the whole thing.’
- ‘Are their children adorable little scamps or perfect little angels?’
- ‘A young scamp in the comments box gently chided me for the fact that none of my favourites were recorded later than the 1980's.’
- ‘Dad's well aware, then, that the little scamps can't give up their penchant for… water balloons.’
- ‘My son is such a scamp for not telling me beforehand that you were coming over to dine with us tonight!’
2West Indian A wicked or worthless person; a rogue.‘that man was a scamp, a damn thief’
- ‘In that way, it's more noble than a lot of these kinds of movies: you can make an honest man out of a scamp without making him less of a man.’
Mid 18th century (denoting a highwayman): from obsolete scamp ‘rob on the highway’, probably from Middle Dutch schampen ‘slip away’, from Old French eschamper. Early usage (still reflected in West Indian English) was derogatory.
Do (something) in a perfunctory or inadequate way.‘she had scamped her work’
- ‘This is the most interesting aspect of Harvey's story and it is unfortunately scamped.’
- ‘Hence it has happened and will happen again, that work which has been undertaken at unremunerative rates has been ‘scamped’ to make it pay.’
Mid 19th century: perhaps the same word as scamp, but associated in sense with the verb skimp.
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