Formerly a word of much stronger meaning than it has today, when it is normally applied to a naughty child, especially a boy. It originally meant a man who was one of the common herd, a rogue, and a knave. ‘You whoreson cowardly rascal,’ used to a man in Ben Jonson’s Every Man in his Humour, is a serious insult indeed.
   In A Trick to Catch the Old One, by Thomas Middleton, Lucre says to the host: ‘How now, you treacherous rascal?’ He is answered with: ‘That’s none of my name, sir.’ ‘You little rascal’ is used by a husband to his wife in Captains and the Kings, by Taylor Caldwell. This would be the normal form of the expression used to a child, said perhaps with irritation, but not a serious insult. ‘Rascal’ was sometimes fancifully extended to ‘rascallion’ in past times. Thus, in Smollett’s Peregrine Pickle, a man tells a coachman: ‘Drive, you ragamuffin, you rascallion, you hellhound!’

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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  • Rascal — or rascals may refer to:In music: * Dizzee Rascal, a solo artist * The Rascals, an American soul group of the 1960s * Rascal Flatts, an American country group * Rascalz, a Canadian hip hop group * The Rascals (English band), an English 3 piece… …   Wikipedia

  • Rascal — Ras cal (r[a^]s kal), n. [OE. rascaille rabble, probably from an OF. racaille, F. racaille the rabble, rubbish, probably akin to F. racler to scrape, (assumed) LL. rasiculare, rasicare, fr. L. radere, rasum. See {Rase}, v.] [1913 Webster] 1. One… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Rascal — Ras cal, a. Of or pertaining to the common herd or common people; low; mean; base. The rascal many. Spencer. The rascal people. Shak. [1913 Webster] While she called me rascal fiddler. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • rascal — index malefactor Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • rascal — early 14c., rascaile people of the lowest class, rabble of an army, from O.Fr. rascaille outcast, rabble (12c.), perhaps from rasque mud, filth, scab, dregs, from V.L. *rasicare to scrape (see RASH (Cf. rash) (n.)). The singular form is first… …   Etymology dictionary

  • rascal — *villain, scoundrel, blackguard, knave, rogue, scamp, rapscallion, miscreant …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • rascal — [n] person who is unprincipled, does not work hard beggar, blackguard, black sheep*, bully, bum, cad, cardsharp*, charlatan, cheat, delinquent, devil, disgrace, felon, fraud, goodfor nothing*, grafter, hooligan*, hypocrite, idler, imp, liar,… …   New thesaurus

  • rascal — ► NOUN ▪ a mischievous or cheeky person. DERIVATIVES rascality noun rascally adjective. ORIGIN originally in the senses «a mob» and «member of the rabble»: from Old French rascaille rabble …   English terms dictionary

  • rascal — [ras′kəl] n. [ME rascaile < OFr rascaille, scrapings, dregs, rabble < * rasquer, to scrape < VL * rasicare < L rasus: see RAZE] 1. a scoundrel; rogue; scamp: now usually used jokingly or affectionately, as of a mischievous child 2.… …   English World dictionary

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