1. Also rake·hell·y [reyk-hel-ee] /ˈreɪkˌhɛl i/. dissolute; profligate.

Origin of rakehell

1540–50; alteration by folk etymology (see rake1, hell) of Middle English rakel (adj.) rash, rough, coarse, hasty (akin to rake4); compare Old Norse reikall wandering, unsettled
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British Dictionary definitions for rakehell


  1. a dissolute man; rake
adjective Also: rakehelly
  1. profligate; dissolute

Word Origin for rakehell

C16: from rake 1 + hell; but compare Middle English rakel rash
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 rakehell

1540s, possibly an alteration (by association with rake (n.1) and Hell) of Middle English rakel (adj.) "hasty, rash, headstrong," probably from raken "to go, proceed," from Old English racian "to go forward, move, hasten," of unknown origin. Cf. rakeshame (n.) "one who lives shamefully" (1590s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper