"A rascally, disorderly, or despicable person" [Century Dictionary], 1690s, alteration of rascallion (1640s), a fanciful elaboration of rascal (q.v.). It had a parallel in now-extinct rampallion (1590s), from Middle English ramp (n.2) "ill-behaved woman." Also compare rascabilian (1620s). Rapscallionry "rascals collectively" is marked "[Rare.]" in Century Dictionary (1897); Galsworthy used rapscallionism.
updated on April 22, 2021