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verb (used without object), scrammed, scram·ming. Informal.
  1. 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)


  1. the rapid shutdown of a nuclear reactor in an emergency.
verb (used with object)
  1. 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

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British Dictionary definitions for scram


verb scrams, scramming or scrammed
  1. (intr; often imperative) informal to go away hastily; get out

Word Origin

C20: shortened from scramble


  1. an emergency shutdown of a nuclear reactor
  1. (of a nuclear reactor) to shut down or be shut down in an emergency

Word Origin

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