Awesome words: rapscallion

Rapscallion: a mischievous person.

This is one of those words that conjures up a whole array of other, equally awesome words: rogue, knave, scoundrel, varlet, slumgullion.

This word seems to have first appeared in the late 17th century, and is closely associated with the word rascallion, which was an earlier elaboration of rascal. Dictionary.com  gives it a specifically feminine parallel in the word rampallion, which is yet another awesome word and came from the Middle English word ramp, meaning a rude or boisterous girl or woman.

Now, I love a good, rude, boisterous woman, so I found this quite fascinating in itself. In Middle English the word ramp also referred to an animal climbing or standing on its hind legs (such as in rampant, used in heraldry to indicate a beast depicted rearing up). Ramp, as a perjorative term for a woman then later became romp in the 18th century, defined in Johnson’s Dictionary in 1755 as “a rude, awkward, boisterous,untaught girl.”

Here. Have a nice sea-dog rampant.
Here. Have a nice sea-dog rampant.
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s