Definition of scamper in US English:



  • no object, with adverbial of direction (especially of a small animal or child) run with quick light steps, especially through fear or excitement.

    ‘he scampered in like an overgrown puppy’
    • ‘The children scampered in all directions, shrieking and squealing, arms pumping with excitement.’
    • ‘All around us, elephants were scampering in all directions raising a lot of dust metres high.’
    • ‘The roads were unpaved and dirty, and filled with hungry, undernourished children scampering around half-naked.’
    • ‘The animal wasted no time scampering back into the safety of its forest home but Ryan had no intention of letting it go so easily.’
    • ‘However, much to the man's surprise, the devilish animal scampered away just as the dog had done.’
    • ‘I had decided to leave when the tortoiseshell kitten scampered in from the yard.’
    • ‘Children scampered off the yellow school bus and into the playground.’
    • ‘He slid the door open and watched as the cat scampered out to sit between posts and watch the birds hungrily.’
    • ‘Brooke scrambled back out of reach of Meghan, scampering back towards the middle of the sidewalk.’
    • ‘The pathetic servant boy came scampering back in the room in a few moments, meekly holding up a clipboard of papers and a pen.’
    • ‘It's a lovely, peaceful town where monkeys scamper along the sides of the roads and people take horseback rides along an attractive black-sand beach.’
    • ‘When they got to the corner, she darted ahead and scampered up the copper beech.’
    • ‘The youth was standing at his workplace, admiring the finished product in the light when the boy came scampering up to him.’
    • ‘The men hadn't even stopped for a second to turn around and to see the small child scampering away after them.’
    • ‘I pity the children scampering about the Great American Southwest who do not have a compound for protection.’
    • ‘Every time a ball was hit out of the court, a group of children scampered towards it.’
    • ‘He turned to see several younger children scamper off.’
    • ‘A kestrel commanded the long valley views, rabbits scampered unconcerned.’
    • ‘The cat scampered along the side of the ditch, its coat shiny black from the morning rain.’
    • ‘Sure, there were film songs sung with verve, dances and a skit, and games for children scampering around.’
    scurry, scuttle, dart, run, rush, dash, race, sprint, hurry, hasten, make haste
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  • An act of scampering.

    • ‘I should have liked to rouse them for a minute, to coax them into a game or a scamper; but the longer I looked into their fixed and weary eyes the more preposterous the idea became.’
    • ‘The girl rose and made a scamper for the lovely woman, but a stray leg was purposely put out and quickly the girl was sent to her knees, toppling forward to land ungracefully upon her chin.’
    • ‘The dim, yellow light each one was shedding cast shadows off the crates and barrels carelessly piled along the length of the alley, and occasionally a squeak and a scamper echoed throughout the area.’
    • ‘I set out at a full-tilt scamper, leaping over the tops of pedestrians and passing cars in search of a victim for my rustling.’
    • ‘There was a quick scamper of feet from the children as everyone bundled into the hallway.’
    • ‘The boy and the dog relish the scamper, but the pedlar fingers his rosary to ward off the threat of a drenching.’
    • ‘A death-defying scamper across the street brings us to Loretta, the best wig fitter in town, who works at Cosmetic World.’
    • ‘That crucial distance from cooker to sink to fridge is pretty much one stride length for us but a bit of a scamper for anyone under five foot five.’
    • ‘Then, with a raspy scamper, a team of grey squirrels descended on our picnic table to clear crumbs faster than any vacuum cleaner.’
    • ‘Fiscus scored the lone Karns City touchdown in the second quarter on an eight yard scamper.’
    • ‘But I guess my scamper is good because he's flashing off that cute little smile of his and doing that adorable little head shake of his.’
    • ‘This is inevitably something of a scamper through too many countries and histories; everywhere, it seemed, feminism tended to go through a moderate earlier phase and later a more revolutionary phase.’
    dash, rush, run, bolt, break, charge, race, sprint, bound, spring, leap, jump, lunge, pounce, dive, swoop, gallop, scurry, scamper, stampede, scramble, start, flight
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Late 17th century (in the sense ‘run away’): probably from scamp.