an unprincipled, dishonorable person; villain.


mean or base in nature; villainous; unprincipled; dishonorable.

Nearby words

  1. scottsbluff,
  2. scottsboro,
  3. scottsdale,
  4. scotty,
  5. scotus,
  6. scoundrelly,
  7. scour,
  8. scourer,
  9. scourge,
  10. scouring pad

Origin of scoundrel

First recorded in 1580–90; origin uncertain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scoundrel

British Dictionary definitions for scoundrel



a worthless or villainous person
Derived Formsscoundrelly, adjective

Word Origin for scoundrel

C16: of unknown origin

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 scoundrel



1580s, skowndrell, of unknown origin. One suggestion is Anglo-French escoundre (Old French escondre) "to hide, hide oneself," from Vulgar Latin *excondere, from Latin condere "to hide" (see abscond). The main objection to this theory is that hundreds of years lie between the two words.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper