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Related to spalpeens: gruntle, unmaintained, creolise


n. Irish
A rascal; a scoundrel.

[Irish spailpín, rascal, itinerant farm laborer, diminutive of spailp, conceited fellow, from spailp, pride, bragging, loafing about with a conceited air.]


1. an itinerant seasonal labourer
2. a rascal or layabout
[C18: from Irish Gaelic spailpín itinerant labourer]
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References in classic literature ?
You percave the little spalpeen is summat down in the mouth, and wears his lift hand in a sling, and it's for that same thing, by yur lave, that I'm going to give you the good rason.
And wid that the widdy, she gits up from the sofy, and makes the swatest curthchy nor iver was seen; and thin down she sits like an angel; and thin, by the powers, it was that little spalpeen Mounseer Maiter-di-dauns that plumped his silf right down by the right side of her.
and a wolly-wou, pully-wou," and then wid that he shoved up his two shoulders till the divil the bit of his hid was to be diskivered, and then he let down the two corners of his purraty-trap, and thin not a haporth more of the satisfaction could I git out o' the spalpeen.
Ye may jist say, though (for it's God's thruth), that afore I left hould of the flipper of the spalpeen (which was not till afther her leddyship's futman had kicked us both down the stairs, I giv'd it such a nate little broth of a squaze as made it all up into raspberry jam.
From Liverpool, these spalpeens, seasonal agricultural labourers, spread out across Lancashire, Cheshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire in search of crops to bring in, farmers needing labour, and cash to earn.