scalawag

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n scalawag one who is playfully mischievous
    • n scalawag a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel
    • n scalawag a white Southerner who supported Reconstruction policies after the American Civil War (usually for self-interest)
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Scalawag A scamp; a scapegrace.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n scalawag An under-sized, scraggy, or ill-fed animal of little value.
    • n scalawag A worthless, good-for-nothing, or contemptible fellow; a scamp; a scapegrace. The word was used in the southern United States, during the period of reconstruction (1865 to 1870 and later), in an almost specific sense, being opprobriously applied by the opponents of the Republican party to native Southerners who acted with that party, as distinguished from carpet-bagger, a Republican of Northern origin.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Scalawag skal′a-wag an undersized animal of little value: a scamp: a native Southern Republican, as opposed to a carpet-bagger, during the period of reconstruction after the American Civil War.
    • ***

Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
From Scalloway in the Shetland Islands, in allusion to its small cattle.

Usage

In literature:

That's the young scalawag.
"The Mission of Janice Day" by Helen Beecher Long
I don't know what kind of scalawags we're up against, but we've got to be mighty careful.
"Jim Spurling, Fisherman" by Albert Walter Tolman
The sly scalawags that sell you the goods won't live up to their contracts.
"Humorous Ghost Stories" by Dorothy Scarborough
Let us hang together this day to test the scalawag's promise.
"The Pagan Madonna" by Harold MacGrath
The children in the village called him the Scalawag.
"Scally" by Ian Hay
See here, you scalawags, clear out an' leave that poor brute alone, an' I'll take your trash.
"Duncan Polite" by Marian Keith
As for that scalawag, Bernal, if he's got himself shot, he's met exactly what he deserved.
"Jessica, the Heiress" by Evelyn Raymond
And 'You're an evil-minded little scalawag,' I said.
"Aurora the Magnificent" by Gertrude Hall
Besides Scalawag wants to see his little mistress.
"The Corner House Girls Growing Up" by Grace Brooks Hill
He has been setting fires, the scalawag!
"The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries" by Various
***