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The Origins of Scally and the Scally Cap

Whether you're talking about the caps or the type of people it describes, the term "scally" possesses many different meanings, depending on who you are and where you're from. Here in Beantown, scally sums up the kind of attitude that's typical of Bostonians, that is, scrappy with a sense of humor. In places like the UK, the term can have a pejorative meaning. Regardless of its origins, we've made "scally" part of our Boston culture, including the clothes and caps we wear!

Scally is in our company name for a reason. It's more than a word that describes a person or cap. Like we said, it's part of our mentality. Boston Scally Company was founded to pay homage to our scrappy, hard-working and hard-playing Boston roots. Take a minute to get schooled on where scally came from, its many meanings, and its connection to our city.

Scally: Origins and Meanings

Both the meaning and origins of the term "scally" have different stories attached to them, and the changes in meaning and different accounts of where it originated are certainly colorful . Some say it's a derogatory term, some say it's not. We say it's a simple word for scrappy, even mischievous. However you think of the work scally, here's what others got to say about it.

Without much room for argument, "scally" almost certainly originated in the Irish language. It's a common family surname, and some believe it could have derived from a tough Irish-Liverpool family known for their behavior. However, the term scallywag, which also derives from the Irish language, is defined as a drudge of farm servant—which is close to a common meaning of the word today. Wherever it may have originated, the word itself is most commonly believed to describe the working class youth of the UK decades ago. These little scallies were even known to sport caps and hoodies—are you seeing the connection now?

Unfortunately for the proud scallies of both the UK and Boston, the term has since changed in meaning and now reflects more of a street punk, "hooligan" type of youth. The typical English scally these days is often thought of as hard-drinking youth in track suits, causing trouble wherever they may see fit. While we like our fair share of a little trouble, the Boston meaning of scally is far from a scoundrel.

The Boston Scally

To us, you could say scally is a cross between a few of the meanings it's possessed in the past. Referring to both the working class and those that are scrappy and just a little rebellious, the term doesn't have such a strict definition. We're a blue collar community here in Boston, but as we said before, we don't take ourselves too seriously, and like our fair share of mischief too. From the style of UK youth it once described to the troublemaking scallies today, we couldn't care less where the word came from. Today, scally refers to one thing as far as we're concerned, and that's the people who inspired us to create the Boston Scally Company.

Get Your Scally Cap Today

Whether you want to represent the working class of Boston or take part in a little playful troublemaking, do it in the right fashion. Check out our selection of scally caps and hoodies. If you have questions or comments, contact us here.


Boston Scally - The Boondock Collectors Edition - Grey
Boston Scally - The Trinity - Clover & Ash
Boston Scally - The Dorchester Collectors Edition - Dorchester Green