\ \ [14] Rascal has been traced back ultimately to Latin rāderescratch’. Its past participial stem rās- (source of English erase and razor) formed the basis of a Vulgar Latin verb *rāsicāre. From this was derived the noun *rāsicascurf, scab, dregs, filth’, which passed into Old Northern French as *rasque (its central Old French counterpart, rasche, may be the source of English rash). And it could well be that this *rasque lies behind Old French rascaillemob, rabble’, which gave English rascal (the English word originally meant ‘rabble’ too, but the application to an individual person emerged in the 15th and 16th centuries). Rapscallion [17] is an alteration of a now defunct rascallion, which may have derived from rascal.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • rascal — [n] person who is unprincipled, does not work hard beggar, blackguard, black sheep*, bully, bum, cad, cardsharp*, charlatan, cheat, delinquent, devil, disgrace, felon, fraud, goodfor nothing*, grafter, hooligan*, hypocrite, idler, imp, liar,… …   New thesaurus

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