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[skoun-druh l] /ˈskaʊn drəl/
an unprincipled, dishonorable person; villain.
mean or base in nature; villainous; unprincipled; dishonorable.
Origin of scoundrel
First recorded in 1580-90; origin uncertain
1. scamp, rapscallion, miscreant. See knave. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for scoundrel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That scoundrel Corney has been about some mischief—damn him!

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • You make me feel like a scoundrel, and I've only been taking a little bit of happiness.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • But when the tale was told, "It's that scoundrel, Mulready!"

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • I am sorry because I believe there is contamination in such a scoundrel.

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
  • For he did not know how best to tell her that her brother was a scoundrel.

    Roden's Corner Henry Seton Merriman
British Dictionary definitions for scoundrel


a worthless or villainous person
Derived Forms
scoundrelly, adjective
Word Origin
C16: of unknown origin
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 scoundrel

1580s, skowndrell, of unknown origin. One suggestion is Anglo-French escoundre (Old French escondre) "to hide, hide oneself," from Vulgar Latin *excondere, from Latin condere "to hide" (see abscond). The main objection to this theory is that hundreds of years lie between the two words.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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