rapscallion, rascal

Trivia for the day.

Sesquiotica

Here they come, a whole battalion – a million, a jillion, all in rebellion. But not a stallion among them, just slubberdegullions fed on slumgullion, slavering for bullion but barely getting bouillon. What do we do with this cotillion of tatterdemalion hellions? Why, rap them with scallions and they’ll scatter, the rapscallions.

Not that that’s where rapscallion comes from. You know what a rapscallion is, don’t you? If the word looks like rascal decked out for a cotillion, you pretty much have it. A rapscallion is a rascal, a rogue, a vagabond (to quote the OED), a raffish scalawag. The word is just rascallion with a rap of p to make it smarter and sharper. And rascallion? Just rascal with a fillip on the end. The OED tells me that rampallion may have had some influence too – it’s a now less-used word with similar sense.

Of them…

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