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See also: SCRAM



Etymology 1[edit]

Attested since 1928[1], originally as U.S. slang[1]; either:


scram (third-person singular simple present scrams, present participle scramming, simple past and past participle scrammed)

  1. Leave in a hurry, go away (frequently imperative).
    What are you kids doing on my lawn? Scram!

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Back-formation from SCRAM; most etymologies are backronyms.


scram (third-person singular simple present scrams, present participle scraming or scramming, simple past and past participle scramed or scrammed)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To abruptly insert the control rods of a nuclear reactor, usually in case of emergency shutdown.
    • 1983, Michio Kaku & Jennifer Trainer (eds.), Nuclear Power: Both Sides, p. 22,
      The slightest problem in a reactor will cause the control rods to plunge automatically in the uranium core at hih speeds (this is called scramming the reactor) and stop the chain reaction.
    • 1999, Charles Perrow, Normal Accidents: Living with High-risk Technologies, p. 44,
      This shut off current to the control rod mechanism, and the reactor scrammed (shut off) automatically.
    • 2000, Ralph R. Fullwood, Probabilistic Safety Assessment in the Chemical and Nuclear Industries, Elsevier, page 218
      Both active and manual methods scram by tripping power to a dedicated pump that unbalances the flows to the [sic] passively scram the reactor.
    • 2007, Samuel Upton Newtan, Nuclear War I and Other Major Nuclear Disasters of the 20th Century, p. 113,
      The reactor was then "scramed", but the control rods did not slide back into the reactor.


scram (uncountable)

  1. A rapid shutdown of a nuclear reactor
  2. Alternative spelling of SCRAM

Etymology 3[edit]

Etymology unknown.


scram (third-person singular simple present scrams, present participle scramming, simple past and past participle scrammed)

  1. (Wales) Scratch with claws or fingernails.
    • 1996–2014, “A Dictionary of Slang”, archived on 30 August 2013, accessed on 19 March 2014:
      Verb. ... 2. To scratch, with claws or fingernails. E.g. "It's my own fault the cat scrammed me, I was teasing it." [South Wales use]
    • 2013 December 19, Abby Bolter, “Firefighters rescue woman trapped in Bridgend flat following an alleged arson attack”, in WalesOnline[1], archived from the original on 24 December 2013:
      A woman has praised firefighters and her cat for saving her life following an alleged arson attack. Two-and-a-half-year-old tortoiseshell Taffy repeatedly bit owner Tracie Horgan-Hodgkiss on the hand until she woke up when her flat filled with acrid smoke in the early hours of this morning. ... "I’d like to say thank you very much to the firefighters for coming to rescue me. And I am sorry that Taffy scrammed one of them!"
      (Also reported as 2013 December 21, “Cat wakes woman as flat fills with smoke”", The Daily Telegraph, p. 17.)


scram (plural scrams)

  1. (Wales) A scratch, especially caused by claws or fingernails.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 scram” in the Online Etymology Dictionary, © November 2001 Douglas Harper