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[skamp] /skæmp/
an unscrupulous and often mischievous person; rascal; rogue; scalawag.
a playful, mischievous, or naughty young person; upstart.
a grouper, Mycteroperca phenax, of Florida: so called from its habit of stealing bait.
verb (used with object)
to do or perform in a hasty or careless manner:
to scamp work.
Origin of scamp
obsolete Dutch
1775-85; obsolete scamp to travel about idly or for mischief, perhaps < obsolete Dutch schampen to be gone < Old French escamper to decamp
Related forms
scamper, noun
scampingly, adverb
scampish, adjective
scampishly, adverb
scampishness, noun
unscamped, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for scamp
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Go to your bedroom; and if you turn out a good-for-nothing and a scamp, it is no fault of mine.

    Rico and Wiseli Johanna Spyri
  • I was a scamp—but a frolicsome scamp—and that is always a popular character.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • She could only trust to his being a scamp as her only hope of escape.

  • He ought to have played the scamp; he should have acted in concert with the Rougons.

  • "I'm looking for that scamp of a Marjolin," replied the artist.

  • I saw that lawyer and I found out about—about the other scamp.

    The Portygee Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • And I only wish I had my fingers this minute in the hair of the scamp that gave him the liquor.

    The Portygee Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • Some scamp had filched it from one of the churches and was trying to sell it.

    War from the Inside

    Frederick L. (Frederick Lyman) Hitchcock
  • I wonder what she would have said if she had known that I was the 'scamp' that troubled her so much Monday.

    Paul Prescott's Charge Horatio Alger
British Dictionary definitions for scamp


an idle mischievous person; rascal
a mischievous child
Derived Forms
scampish, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from scamp (vb) to be a highway robber, probably from Middle Dutch schampen to decamp, from Old French escamper, from es-ex-1 + -camper, from Latin campus field


a less common word for skimp
Derived Forms
scamper, noun
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 scamp

1782, "highway robber," probably from dialectal verb scamp "to roam" (1753, perhaps from 16c.), shortened from scamper. Used affectionately in sense "rascal" since 1808.


"do in a hasty manner," 1837, perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse skemma "to shorten, make shorter," from skammr "short; brief; lately"), or a blend of scant and skimp [Klein], or a back-formation from scamper. Related: Scamped; scamping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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