[Ads-l] 'rabscallion' in the 17th century; 'rabscallies'

James Eric Lawson jel at NVENTURE.COM
Thu Jun 1 18:10:05 UTC 2023

1651  George Abbot *Brief notes upon the whole book of Psalms put forth 
for the help of such who desire to exercise themselves in them and 
cannot understand without a guide: being a pithie and clear opening of 
the scope and meaning of the text to the capacitie of the weakest.* 
(EEBO TCP 1)  It is not some, but all, of all sorts, that are thus bent 
against me, they that should be wiser, graver, and juster, and of better 
example, even the magistrats and men in office and judicature, have 
their invectives and jears at me, and much more the deboisheers and 
rabscalions in their cups and merry-meetings make sport with me, and 
scornfully abuse me.

Notes: OEDO (Dec 2008; mod 2022) does not document the 
“rabscallion/rabscalion” form in the 1600s. Also, considering the date 
of Abbot’s death (1649), and that the earliest OEDO documentation of the 
rapscallion’ form is 1648, this suggests the forms were at least 


1662  Henry Foulis *The history of the wicked plots and conspiracies of 
our pretended saints representing the beginning, constitution, and 
designs of the Jesuite: with the conspiracies, rebellions, schisms, 
hypocrisie, perjury, sacriledge, seditions, and vilefying humour of some 
Presbyterians, proved by a series of authentick examples, as they have 
been acted in Great Brittain, from the beginning of that faction to this 
time* (EEBO TCP 1)  Yet was it soon taken notice of, by the Adjutators 
in the Army (a sort of underlings, secretly put on by Cromwell, whom 
they call their Patron, and Protectour, to carry on his designs in the 
Army; every Regiment having two, who used to meet in Juntos, and there 
consult for the seducing the rest of the Souldiers) these Rabscallies 
(who neither must, nor durst be denied) present the case of the former 
fellows to Sir Thomas Fairfax, their nominal General, desiring their 
releasment from their Tyrannical sufferings, (for so they call it.)

Notes: The “rabscallies” noun form of 'rapscallions' is not documented 
in OEDO (Dec 2008, mod Mar 2022).


1682  *The Distressed case of the people called Quakers in the city of 
Bristol and their inhumane usage for their religious peaceable 
assemblies nakedly related, and credibly certified from the said city by 
persons that were eye and ear witnesses of matters of fact* (EEBO TCP 2) 
  John Helliar said, come all ye Tinkers, Coblers, Weavers, Pinmakers, 
Taylers, Rabscallions and Totterdemallions, that I may take your Names.

Notes: Another example of “rabscallion” form in the 1600s: not 
documented in OEDO (Dec 2008, mod Mar 2022).


Standard disclaimer: typos in the foregoing may be my transcription 
errors, rather than the sources' (-ez).

James Eric Lawson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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