March 2, 2022

Scalawag /skalēˌwaɡ/ noun

Definition: Scalawag is used to describe a person engaging in mischievous behavior. We often saw someone considered as a scalawag as an annoying scamp. They are not people that are taken seriously. 

Scalawag has a dual meaning and was also used in the mid-to-late 1800s as a term to describe white American Southerners with conflicting interests. These scalawags gained profit from their activities during the civil war. These Americans were said to be in support of the government’s reconstruction efforts at the time. In both cases, the term scalawag has a negative and unwanted connotation.

Etymology: While the first recorded use of the term scalawag appeared in the mid-to-late 18th century, research shows that the original origin of the word is still unknown. 

Its first appearance denoted the definition listed above. We still use this word in the English language to describe people with questionable behaviors or traits. 

In a Sentence

Those scalawags are always hanging out in the alley behind the bar.

Scalawags took bribes as payment for secrecy during the Civil War.

These scalawags are making the neighborhood look bad to visitors.


Rascal, Scamp


Hero, Innocent


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