- to go away; get out (usually used as a command): I said I was busy, so scram.
Origin of scram1
1925–30; probably shortened form of scramble (but compare German schramm, imperative singular of schrammen to depart)
- the rapid shutdown of a nuclear reactor in an emergency.
- to shut down (a nuclear reactor) rapidly in an emergency.
Origin of scram2
1945–50; perhaps identical with scram1, though sense development is unclear
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for scram
First there's the SCRAM system, it automatically ejects the control rods into the core and shuts the plant down.Japan Nuclear Fallout: How Bad Could It Get?
March 12, 2011
To the girls she said, “Scram, if you want me downstairs in two minutes.”The Mystery at Dark Cedars</p>
Gibbering, I tried to get away, to flee or scram, but it was too late.
The big idea is, can we grab a plane and scram away from this tub?Dave Dawson on Guadalcanal
Robert Sydney Bowen
We've got to get back to the jeep and scram out of here fast.The Secret of the Ninth Planet
Donald Allen Wollheim
"Let's scram before they catch it," Hall said, but he was too late.The Five Arrows</p>
- (intr; often imperative) informal to go away hastily; get out
C20: shortened from scramble
- an emergency shutdown of a nuclear reactor
- (of a nuclear reactor) to shut down or be shut down in an emergency
C20: perhaps from scram 1
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 scram
1928, U.S. slang, either a shortened form of scramble (v.) or from German schramm, imperative singular of schrammen "depart." Related: Scrammed; scramming.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper