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90s Slang You Should Know


[hair-uh m-skair-uh m, har-uh m-skar-uh m] /ˈhɛər əmˈskɛər əm, ˈhær əmˈskær əm/
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
Related forms
harum-scarumness, noun
1, 2. erratic, impulsive, impetuous; giddy, scatterbrained. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for harum-scarum
Historical Examples
  • As far as I can see it is only the wild plan of a harum-scarum young man.

    The White Mice Richard Harding Davis
  • Altogether, it was the noisiest, dustiest, most harum-scarum race that can be imagined!

    When Life Was Young C. A. Stephens
  • And what if I don't hold with investing any of uncle's money in this harum-scarum idea of yours?

    Miss Million's Maid Bertha Ruck
  • Now, what sort of harum-scarum trick have you got up your sleeve, Jack?

  • harum-scarum, wild, dissipated, reckless; four horses driven in a line.

    The Slang Dictionary John Camden Hotten
  • A harum-scarum fellow, and pretending to a great scorn for all the girls.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • He was far too harum-scarum for flights of fancy or for patient investigation.

    The Great Airship. F. S. Brereton
  • And of how they looked & the harum-scarum things they did & said.

  • I'm the last man to be hard on mischief; heaven knows I was a harum-scarum in my time.

    A Pilgrim Maid Marion Ames Taggart
  • She's such a wild, harum-scarum thing, and she does love to tease.

    Miss Pat at School Pemberton Ginther
British Dictionary definitions for harum-scarum


adjective, adverb
in a reckless way or of a reckless nature
a person who is impetuous or rash
Word Origin
C17: perhaps from hare (in obsolete sense: harass) + scare, variant of stare1; 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
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Word Origin and History for harum-scarum

1670s (adv.), probably a compound of obsolete hare (v.) "harry" + scare (v.), with 'um as a reduced form of them. As an adjective from 1751; as a noun from 1784.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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