[hair-uhm-skair-uhm, har-uhm-skar-uhm]


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 formshar·um-scar·um·ness, noun

Synonyms for harum-scarum

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for harum-scarum

Historical Examples of harum-scarum

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 for harum-scarum

C17: perhaps from hare (in obsolete sense: harass) + scare, variant of stare 1; 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

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