an unprincipled, dishonorable person; villain.


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

Origin of scoundrel

First recorded in 1580–90; origin uncertain

Synonyms for scoundrel Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scoundrel

Contemporary Examples of scoundrel

Historical Examples of scoundrel

  • That scoundrel Corney has been about some mischief—damn him!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • You make me feel like a scoundrel, and I've only been taking a little bit of happiness.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • But when the tale was told, "It's that scoundrel, Mulready!"

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • I am sorry because I believe there is contamination in such a scoundrel.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • For he did not know how best to tell her that her brother was a scoundrel.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

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