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  • IPA(key): /skæmp/, /skamp/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æmp

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle Dutch schampen (slip away), from Old French escamper (to run away, to make one's escape), from Vulgar Latin *excampare (decamp), from Latin ex campo.


scamp (plural scamps)

  1. A rascal, swindler, or rogue; a ne'er-do-well.
    Synonyms: swindler, rogue; see also Thesaurus:troublemaker
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 77:
      "He is a scamp, he is and it isn't difficult to find his tracks and signs of his reckless shooting, for he can never wait, like other folks, till the birds have had a good start at their play."
  2. A mischievous person, especially a playful, impish youngster.
    My nephew is a little scamp who likes to leave lighted firecrackers under the lawnchairs of his dozing elders.
    While walking home from the bar, he was set upon by a bunch of scamps who stole his hat.

Etymology 2[edit]

Perhaps related to sense 1, but influenced by the later attested skimp; however, compare Icelandic skamta (to dole out, to stint), which is related to skammur (short).


scamp (third-person singular simple present scamps, present participle scamping, simple past and past participle scamped)

  1. (dated) To skimp; to do something in a skimpy or slipshod fashion.
    • 1884, Samuel Smiles, Men of Invention and Industry
      His work was always first-rate. There was no scamping about it. Everything that he did was thoroughly good and honest.
    • 1928, Lawrence R. Bourne, chapter 3, in Well Tackled![1]:
      “They know our boats will stand up to their work,” said Willison, “and that counts for a good deal. A low estimate from us doesn't mean scamped work, but just for that we want to keep the yard busy over a slack time.”


Etymology 3[edit]


scamp (plural scamps)

  1. (advertising) A preliminary design sketch.
    • 2007, Adrian Mackay, Practice of Advertising (page 124)
      It did not matter that the scamp (simple illustrative line-drawing) it contained could have been done in the pub the night before.
    • 2009, FCS: Advertising & Promotions L4 (page 25)
      From the scamps, the creative idea can be developed more fully into a proposal for an actual ad. This needs to be clear enough to present to the client.