A rapscallion is a person who's dishonest or just playfully mischievous.
rap SCAL yun
Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about one rapscallion or multiple rapscallions.)
rapscallions, rapscallionly, rapscallionism/rapscallionry
How to use it:
This is a playful, fun word. Your tone might be gentle or critical when you use it. So, call someone a rapscallion (instead of a rogue, a rascal, or a scamp) when you want to be especially colorful or lighthearted in your choice of words.
We often talk about rapscallions in the plural, too: a mob of rapscallions in the mall, all those rapscallions screaming on the playground, those self-serving rapscallions in the legislature, etc.
Even though it's usually a noun, you can use "rapscallion" as an adjective, also: rapscallion manners, the rapscallion fellow, a rapscallion wiliness, and so on.
One moment he was a squeaky-clean rising pop star, and the next he was a heavily-tattooed rapscallion causing headlines. What happened?
There's a sign posted in our local McDonald's explicitly forbidding people from stealing soda. Unfortunately I don't think any rapscallion who would do such a thing would be dissuaded by the sign.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "rapscallion" means when you can explain it without saying "vagabond" or "rascal."
Think of someone you know who acts sneaky or mischievous, and fill in the blanks: "(Person) is a known rapscallion in our (office / school / family, etc.) and won't hesitate to (do something mischievous in particular.)"
Example: "Taylor, our one-year-old, is a known rapscallion in the family and won't hesitate to put her head in your lap and go all wide-eyed until you surrender your tablet or phone to her."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're playing with some fascinating thematic word lists assembled by Stephen Chrisomalis, an English language expert over at The Phrontistery who kindly gave permission for me to use his work. (Check out his site; you will definitely enjoy it!)
Try a question each day, and see the right answers here the following day--or if you can't wait, follow the link to Stephen's list to dig out the answers yourself. Have fun!
Three of the following words are real, and one is totally made up (by me.) Can you spot the fake? Any guesses about what the real ones mean?
- Radappertization is the treatment of food with ionizing radiation to kill bacteria.
- Triboluminescence is the emission of light caused by friction.
- Disabugglement is totally a made-up word!
- A knick-knackatory is a collection of knick-knacks.
Try this one today:
As Stephen notes, both ferre and gerere are Latin for “to bear.” Using your knowledge of additional word roots, come up with the correct meaning for each word below.
For example, something ramiferous bears branches. (Compare that to our word “ramify.”)
Can't wait until tomorrow for the right answers? Check out Stephen's full list and discussion at the Phrontistery.
A Point Well Made:
Lewis Carroll: "So many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible."
1. The opposite of RAPSCALLION is
2. A dozen or so rapscallions who had been ____ now _____.
A. eavesdropping .. disappeared into the dark streets
B. looking exhausted .. sat up and paid attention to the lecturer
C. lined up at the doors .. stepped quietly into the library
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
I thought about skipping today's word, "rapscallion," since we recently covered some other terms for rascals and rogues. But this one is just too fun to say, so let's check it out. Plus, I remember hearing it first in a middle school's musical performance of Aladdin and thinking it sounded really neat: "He's a bad one, that Aladdin, a rapscallion and a thief."
Can you recall these other words that could also describe the rapscallion Aladdin?
Someone carefree and fun but a bit vulgar is ____ish.