English Edit

Etymology Edit

Probably from Italian scappare (to run away), influenced by Cockney rhyming slang Scapa Flow = go.

  • An alternative etymology traces the word "scarper" to the Cockney rhyming slang Scapa Flow (go) (as in, e.g., "go away").

Pronunciation Edit

Verb Edit

scarper (third-person singular simple present scarpers, present participle scarpering, simple past and past participle scarpered)

  1. (Britain, slang) To run away; to flee; to escape.
    • 1904, John Coleman, Fifty years of an actors̓ life, volume 1, page 54:
      Out went the lights, as he continued, "That sneak Whiskers have just blown the gaff to old Slow-Coach, and he'll be here in two two's to give you beans — so scarper, laddies — scarper!"
    • 2001, Ardal O'Hanlon, Knick Knack Paddy Whack, page 7:
      The tramps scarpered, the street-traders pushing prams scarpered, half of Dublin scarpered as if they all had something to hide.
    • 2007, The Guardian[1]:
      Helm writes: 'As if she were some street criminal, ready to scarper, Ruth's home was swooped upon by [Assistant Commissioner John] Yates's men and she was forced to dress in the presence of a female police officer.
    • 28 March 2023, Graeme McGarry, “Scott McTominay earns place in history as Scotland stun Spain”, in The Herald[2]:
      Pedro Porro was a pantomime villain on the night in the eyes of both home and visiting fans - more of that later - slipping on a patch of wet turf to allow Andy Robertson to steal in and scarper to the byline.

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