Somebody please format this information correctly for wiktionary:
n 1: white Southerner supporting Reconstruction policies after the Civil War usually for self-interest [syn: scalawag].
2: a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel [syn: rogue, knave, rascal, rapscallion, scalawag, varlet]
3: one who is playfully mischievous [syn: imp, scamp, monkey, rascal, rapscallion, scalawag]
I made some changes to the page here yesterday which were reverted, for no obvious reason.
The changes I made were because the page previously suggested that “Scallywag” was merely an alternate spelling of “Scalawag”. I wished to make clear, as the project currently doesn't, that “Scallywag” is different both in pronunciation and usage, and that the difference is one of British English compared to American English. According to the OED the “Scallywag” spelling and pronunciation is British English, and the primary meaning is the one I gave, a disreputable person, etc. By contrast, “Scalawag”, is American English, and according to Merriam Webster, the source on the page there, the main meaning is the pejorative term for Southern Unionists.
It also states on the other page that “Scally”, a common enough term in Britain, is derived from Scalawag; that may be the case indirectly, but Scally is certainly not synonymous with Southern Unionist! I edited the corresponding articles on WP because of this very thing; Scally (slang) is derived from Scallywag, which (previously) redirected to Scalawag, which is an article about the Southern Unionists.