Definition of rascal in US English:



  • A mischievous or cheeky person, especially a child or man (typically used in an affectionate way)

    ‘a lovable rascal’
    ‘you are such a rascal!’
    • ‘I've been in monkey houses before, where the rascals show their bum and pee on you, but this one behaved itself.’
    • ‘She says that by her own admissions, some of the applications are by rogues, and rascals and persons of dubious credibility.’
    • ‘Because of their boisterous natures and their genteel parentage these rascals are destined to wind up having many exciting adventures together!’
    • ‘Have those dreadful rascals done the dirty on you?’
    • ‘William Lambert and Lord Frederick Beauclerk were the original rascals.’
    • ‘That's not to say that our aging pair of (now slightly dowdy) French rascals are going to be pulling their punches at all.’
    • ‘The neighborhood kids and rascals have been setting off fireworks for three or four weeks and everyone told me about how much worse it would get on the actual night.’
    • ‘So many patriots are really rascals - you know, last refuge of the scoundrel - nationality is a dangerous thing.’
    • ‘Some may, indeed, be rascals when out on the town, but the extent of grooms' devotion to their horses often borders on the obsessive.’
    • ‘Miles and Jack, on the other hand, are too easy to figure out, lovable cartoons, rascals who are losers by rote.’
    • ‘We're rascals, and scoundrels, and villains, and knaves.’
    • ‘It purges the pleasure of sleep and contaminates the cornflakes, leaving a day-long impression that a world run by fools and rascals should be treated with suspicion.’
    • ‘We were all rascals when we were growing up, I was no angel myself, but what I did have, and still do is respect for my elders and people in authority.’
    • ‘It's a rather amazing, titillating idea that these rascals are elevated to such importance and prominence.’
    • ‘But most exciting this week is our interview with Ant and Dec, those loveable Geordie rascals who've captured the hearts of the nation.’
    • ‘His blue ribbon commission has rascals that have screwed over the average Bahamian and enriched themselves beyond belief.’
    • ‘As a result, liars are passed off as scoundrels or rascals, or even lovable rogues.’
    • ‘He was often humiliated by the rascals in his town.’
    • ‘Even if independence is off the agenda, Scots should be thinking of voting for the SNP for no other reason than to ‘throw the rascals out’.’
    • ‘Most often I need these very rascals to produce movies for me.’
    scallywag, scamp, devil, imp, monkey, mischievous person, mischief-maker, wretch
    scoundrel, rogue, ne'er-do-well, good-for-nothing, reprobate
    View synonyms


Middle English (in the senses ‘a mob’ and ‘member of the rabble’): from Old French rascaille ‘rabble’, of uncertain origin.