Definition of harum-scarum in English:



  • Reckless; impetuous.

    ‘she shall be frightened out of her wits by your harum-scarum ways’
    • ‘She told me a harum-scarum tale of running through a forest in the middle of the stormy.’
    • ‘Favourite Gunther McBride set out to make every yard of the running under Richard Johnson, but his jumping was harum-scarum.’
    • ‘Rob Hayles catapulted across our Olympic consciousness at the end of a harum-scarum event called the Madison.’
    • ‘She had been running for four days now, a harum-scarum tumbling flight through passages and tunnels.’
    • ‘Van Wyk's narrator, a harum-scarum, hard-drinking journalist called Scara Nhlabatsi, relishes all manner of rude jokes, bawdy abuse, malapropisms and puns and provides a slew of images of the vulgar excess of power.’
    reckless, impetuous, impulsive, imprudent, rash, wild, daredevil, madcap, precipitous, precipitate, frivolous, hot-headed, hare-brained, giddy, foolhardy, thoughtless, incautious, careless, heedless, hasty, overhasty
    devil-may-care, scatty, dotty, dippy
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  • A reckless or impetuous person.

    • ‘He was a harum-scarum sort of inventor and putterer, but he did engineer a two cycle machine in 1865. It ran, but somewhat crudely.’
    • ‘She looked with disfavor upon the young beaver's suit because he was a harum-scarum and a ne'er-do-well.’


Late 17th century (as an adverb): reduplication based on hare and scare.