||[Sep. 18th, 2007|01:43 pm]
Say It To Me
Rapscallion, pronounced rap·skall'·yən
Rapscallion, noun, rascal, scoundrel, cullion*, scamp, rogue, scallywag, reprobate, scapegrace, miscreant, ruffian, malefactor, delinquent, knave, varlet, ne'er-do-well.
The word "rapscallion", first recorded in 1699, was a variant of "rascallion" which was itself an elaboration of "rascal", recorded as "rascaile" from about 1330, meaning "underclass rabble". The term "rapscallion" was originally used only for male malefactors.
The equivalent term for a woman was "rampallion", first recorded in 1593, which was itself an elaboration of "ramp" meaning a badly behaved woman, recorded from about 1450, which might also be connected to the term "romp", recorded in Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language in 1755, meaning "a rude, awkward, boisterous, untaught girl". See also ronyon**.
Why do the baddies get all the most descriptive words? Is it true that the devil has all the best tunes?
* Cullion, noun, a contemptible fellow, a rascal, from the Middle English word "coilon" meaning "testicle", heh. Archaic swearing is the dog's bollocks! ;-)
** Ronyon, noun, a scabby or mangy woman.