[hair-uh m-skair-uh m, har-uh m-skar-uh m]
- reckless; rash; irresponsible: He had a harum-scarum youth.
- disorganized; uncontrolled.
- recklessly; wildly: He ran harum-scarum all over the place.
- a reckless person.
- reckless or unpredictable behavior or action.
Origin of harum-scarum
1665–75; earlier harum-starum rhyming compound based on obsolete hare to harass + stare
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1, 2. erratic, impulsive, impetuous; giddy, scatterbrained.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for harum-scarum
A harum-scarum fellow, and pretending to a great scorn for all the girls.A Set of Six
And of how they looked & the harum-scarum things they did & said.Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete
Albert Bigelow Paine
She's such a wild, harum-scarum thing, and she does love to tease.Miss Pat at School</p>
Of course it was a harum-scarum impression, but it gratified them to hold it.The Shellback's Progress
She was only eighteen, and the most harum-scarum creature you ever saw.Mary Ware's Promised Land
Annie Fellows Johnston
- in a reckless way or of a reckless nature
- a person who is impetuous or rash
C17: perhaps from hare (in obsolete sense: harass) + scare, variant of stare 1; compare helter-skelter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for harum-scarum
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper