Etymology
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scoundrel (n.)

1580s, skowndrell, "base, mean, worthless fellow," a word of unknown origin. Century Dictionary, citing Skeat, makes it perhaps ultimately from the source of shun. Another suggestion is Anglo-French escoundre (Old French escondre) "to hide, hide oneself," from Vulgar Latin *excondere, from Latin condere "to hide, put away, store," from assimilated form of com- "together" (see com-) + -dere "put" (from PIE root *dhe- "to put, place"). The main objection is the hundreds of years between the two words. OED thinks the sense has strengthened since 18c., to "audacious rascal, one destitute of all moral scruple." Related: Scoundrelly.

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caitiff (n.)

c. 1300, "wicked man, scoundrel," from Anglo-French caitif, noun use of Old North French caitive (Old French chaitif) "captive, miserable" (see caitiff (adj.)). It is attested from mid-14c as "prisoner."

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skelm (n.)

also skellum, "a rascal, scamp, scoundrel," 1610s, from Dutch schelm, from German schelm "rascal, devil, pestilence, etc.," from Old High German scelmo. Used by Dryden, but "Now arch. (except in S.Africa)" [OED].

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miscreant (n.)

late 14c., "a heathen, a Saracen, a pagan, an unbeliever, a non-Christian," from miscreant (adj.) or from Old French mescreant, which had also a noun sense of "infidel, pagan, heretic." Sense of "villain, vile wretch, scoundrel" is first recorded 1590 in Spenser.

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thrall (n.)

late Old English þræl "bondman, serf, slave," from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse þræll "slave, servant," figuratively "wretch, scoundrel," probably from Proto-Germanic *thrakhilaz, literally "runner," from root *threh- "to run" (source also of Old High German dregil "servant," properly "runner;" Old English þrægan, Gothic þragjan "to run"). Meaning "condition of servitude" is from early 14c.

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shirk (v.)

1630s, "to practice fraud or trickery, live by one's wits," also a noun (1630s) "a needy, disreputable parasite" [OED], of uncertain origin. Perhaps from German schurke "scoundrel, rogue, knave, villain" (see shark (n.)).

Both older senses are obsolete. The meaning "go evasively or slyly, slink, sneak away" is from 1580s; hence that of "evade one's work or duty," recorded by 1785, originally slang or colloquial. It also was used by 1787 in the sense of "evade (someone), avoid meeting, dodge." Related: Shirked; shirking.

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poltroon (n.)

"A coward; a nidgit; a scoundrel" [Johnson, who spells it poltron], 1520s, from French poultron "rascal, coward; sluggard" (16c., Modern French poltron), from Italian poltrone "lazy fellow, coward," from poltro "lazy, cowardly," which is apparently from poltro "couch, bed" (compare Milanese polter, Venetian poltrona "couch"), perhaps from a Germanic source (compare Old High German polstar "pillow;" see bolster (n.)), or perhaps from Latin pullus "young of an animal" (from PIE root *pau- (1) "few, little"). Also see -oon. Related: Poltroonish; poltroonery.

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villain (n.)
Origin and meaning of villain

c. 1300 (late 12c. as a surname), "base or low-born rustic," from Anglo-French and Old French vilain "peasant, farmer, commoner, churl, yokel" (12c.), from Medieval Latin villanus "farmhand," from Latin villa "country house, farm" (from PIE root *weik- (1) "clan"). Meaning "character in a novel, play, etc. whose evil motives or actions help drive the plot" is from 1822.

The most important phases of the sense development of this word may be summed up as follows: 'inhabitant of a farm; peasant; churl, boor; clown; miser; knave, scoundrel.' Today both Fr. vilain and Eng. villain are used only in a pejorative sense. [Klein]
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glutton (n.)

"one who eats and drinks to excess," early 13c., from Old French gloton "glutton;" also "scoundrel," a general term of abuse (Modern French glouton), from Latin gluttonem (nominative glutto) "overeater," which is related to gluttire "to swallow," gula "throat" (see gullet). General sense in reference to one who indulges in anything to excess is from 1704. Glutton for punishment is from pugilism; the phrase is from 1854, but the idea is older:

Thus, Theocritus, in his Milling-match, calls Amycus "a glutton," which is well known to be the classical phrase at Moulsey-Hurst, for one who, like Amycus, takes a deal of punishment before he is satisfied. [Tom Moore, "Tom Crib's Memorial to Congress," 1819]
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manhandle (v.)

also man-handle, mid-15c., "wield a tool," also, late 15c., "to attack (an enemy)," from man (n.) + handle (v.). Nautical meaning "to move by force of men" (without levers or tackle) is attested from 1834, and is the source of the slang meaning "to handle roughly" (1865). Related: Manhandled; manhandling.

[T]he two Canalers rushed into the uproar, and sought to drag their man out of it toward the forecastle. Others of the sailors joined with them in this attempt, and a twisted turmoil ensued; while standing out of harm's way, the valiant captain danced up and down with a whale-pike, calling upon his officers to manhandle that atrocious scoundrel, and smoke him along to the quarter-deck. [Melville, "The Town-Ho's Story," Harper's magazine, October 1851]
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