September 19th, 2021

words 6
  • sallymn

Sunday Word: Scarper

scarper [skahr-per]

1 (British ) run away, flee
2 to flee or depart suddenly, especially without having paid one's bills


Amongst the smaller and fluffier of the corvid family, Siberian jays are quite fascinating birds. They mate for life and tend to live in small flocks of fewer than 10 members, with one dominant breeding pair. Within this group, they have been found to exhibit nepotistic alarm calling: when danger is nearby in the form of a predator, they sound a cry that will alert family members, telling them to scarper. (Michelle Starr, These Birds Shamelessly Lie to Their Neighbors, But Can Tell They Are Being Deceived, Sciencealert, June 2021)

Most online gambling firms scarper offshore but her firm Bet365 is mainly domiciled here. (Janice Turner, Betting queen’s empire is founded on misery,, April 2021)

Translated, that means the successful payment for petrol is a felony. Fill up your car and scarper – no questions asked. Of course, deliberate failure to pay is an offence, but the sign doesn’t say that. (David Astle, The no-nos of double negatives, South Florida SunSentinel, January 2021)


C19: probably an adaptation of Italian scappare to escape; perhaps influenced by folk etymology Scapa Flow Cockney rhyming slang for go (