an unscrupulous and often mischievous person; rascal; rogue; scalawag.
a playful, mischievous, or naughty young person; upstart.
a grouper, Mycteroperca phenax, of Florida: so called from its habit of stealing bait.

verb (used with object)

to do or perform in a hasty or careless manner: to scamp work.

Origin of scamp

1775–85; obsolete scamp to travel about idly or for mischief, perhaps < obsolete Dutch schampen to be gone < Old French escamper to decamp
Related formsscamp·er, nounscamp·ing·ly, adverbscamp·ish, adjectivescamp·ish·ly, adverbscamp·ish·ness, nounun·scamped, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scampish

Historical Examples of scampish

  • Richard was the scampish brother by whose death she inherited all.



  • Why the deuce should this fellow be going to Coveton, of all places least calculated to attract such a scampish vagabond?

  • A slight shade fell over the reckless, scampish face; he was a moment vexed that we scorned him.

    Helmet of Navarre

    Bertha Runkle

  • Lovat, the eldest son, being the handsomest and by far the most scampish of the children, is of course his mother's idol.

    Molly Bawn

    Margaret Wolfe Hamilton

  • She sallies forth at night, and her friends are the scampish among the sons of the lower class of tenant-farmers.

    Hodge and His Masters

    Richard Jefferies

British Dictionary definitions for scampish




an idle mischievous person; rascal
a mischievous child
Derived Formsscampish, adjective

Word Origin for scamp

C18: from scamp (vb) to be a highway robber, probably from Middle Dutch schampen to decamp, from Old French escamper, from es- ex- 1 + -camper, from Latin campus field




a less common word for skimp
Derived Formsscamper, noun
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 scampish



1782, "highway robber," probably from dialectal verb scamp "to roam" (1753, perhaps from 16c.), shortened from scamper. Used affectionately in sense "rascal" since 1808.



"do in a hasty manner," 1837, perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse skemma "to shorten, make shorter," from skammr "short; brief; lately"), or a blend of scant and skimp [Klein], or a back-formation from scamper. Related: Scamped; scamping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper