Definition of scarper in English:



[no object]British
  • Run away.

    ‘they left the stuff where it was and scarpered’
    • ‘By the time the police get there, they've scarpered and nothing gets done.’
    • ‘He actually lay in wait for burglars and shot them as a deliberate act, even though they were about to scarper.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, those who did return found the locals severely hostile and scarpered quickly.’
    • ‘A couple today told of their fury that the teen who ploughed a stolen 4x4 through their front garden wall and then scarpered was only cautioned by police.’
    • ‘He picks up his Kroger bag full of second-story work paraphernalia and scarpers.’
    • ‘When the baby did arrive, the father scarpered for good.’
    • ‘By grief he does not mean what grief father caused him by scarpering, but the grief Davis might cause turning up.’
    • ‘After establishing a history of paying bills he sought credit facilities before scarpering with the loot, leaving banks chasing a ghost.’
    • ‘Once the guy had found out the truth, more often than not, he'd scarper.’
    • ‘It wasn't noble, but I scarpered double-quick.’
    • ‘On the way, they'd been attacked by brigands again, but they'd scarpered as soon as they realised the team was capable of offering armed resistance.’
    • ‘‘They scarper when the police come, but when they go, they're back again,’ he said.’
    • ‘The bookshop man told him it would cost around £20,000, so Daniel scarpered.’
    • ‘And since the party starts at 7pm, I reckon I can scarper shortly after 10 to get to the pub for last orders.’
    • ‘The inmates mingle with the townspeople and pilgrims and when Fay refuses to identify them so they can be locked up again, she has to scarper to avoid arrest.’
    • ‘Black cats have been known to scarper at my sight.’
    • ‘When he warned her that he had called the police she soon scarpered.’
    • ‘The rat, who, arguably, has been the cause of near tragedy, scarpers.’
    • ‘‘I can't do this,’ he said before scarpering.’
    • ‘When Harry saw her bearing down on him with an intent look he quickly scarpered and spent the rest of the evening hiding from her.’
    run away, flee, run off, make a run for it, run for it, take flight, make off, take off, take to one's heels, make a break for it, bolt, beat a retreat, beat a hasty retreat, make a quick exit, make one's getaway, escape, head for the hills
    View synonyms


Mid 19th century: probably from Italian scappare ‘to escape’, influenced by rhyming slang Scapa Flow ‘go’.