Online Encyclopedia

SCAMP

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 287 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SCAMP, an idle, worthless rascal; in earlier (18th cent.) usage especially applied as a cant term for a highway robber, a foot-pad, later of one who incurs debts and decamps without paying them. The word appears to be derived from a shortened form of " scamper," to run away, decamp, to move quickly or nimbly; which is generally taken to be a military slang word i It was formerly called diagrydion, probably from Sarspu, a tear, in allusion to the manner in which the juice exudes from the incised root.adapted from Dutch schampen, to escape; O.Fr. escamper; Ital. scampare; Lat. ex, out of, campus, field of battle, hence a vagabond deserter. This word must be distinguished from " scamp," to do work in a hasty, careless manner, which is apparently a variant of " skimp," " skimpy," and is to be referred to the root seen in O. Nor. skammr, short; Dig. " scant."
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