scorpion (n.) Look up scorpion at
c. 1200, from Old French scorpion (12c.), from Latin scorpionem (nominative scorpio), extended form of scorpius, from Greek skorpios "a scorpion," from PIE root *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (see shear (v.)). The Spanish alacran "scorpion" is from Arabic al-'aqrab.
Scot (n.) Look up Scot at
Old English Scottas (plural) "inhabitants of Ireland, Irishmen," from Late Latin Scotti (c. 400), of uncertain origin, perhaps from Celtic (but answering to no known tribal name; Irish Scots appears to be a Latin borrowing). The name followed the Irish tribe which invaded Scotland 6c. C.E. after the Romans withdrew from Britain, and after the time of Alfred the Great the Old English word described only the Irish who had settled in the northwest of Britain.
scot-free (adj.) Look up scot-free at
Old English scotfreo "exempt from royal tax," from scot "royal tax," from Old Norse skot "contribution," literally "a shooting, shot; thing shot, missile," from PIE *skeud- "to shoot, chase, throw" (see shoot (v.); the Old Norse verb form, skjota, has a secondary sense of "transfer to another; pay") + freo (see free (adj.)). First element related to Old English sceotan "to pay, contribute," Dutch schot, German Schoß "tax, contribution." French écot "share" (Old French escot) is from Germanic.
scotch (v.) Look up scotch at
"stamp out, crush," 1825, earlier "make harmless for a time" (1798; a sense that derives from an uncertain reading of "Macbeth" III.ii.13), from scocchen "to cut, score, gash, make an incision" (early 15c.), of unknown origin, perhaps [Barnhart] from Anglo-French escocher, Old French cocher "to notch, nick," from coche "a notch, groove," perhaps from Latin coccum "berry of the scarlet oak," which appears notched, from Greek kokkos. Related: Scotched; scotching.
Scotch (adj.) Look up Scotch at
"of Scotland," 1590s, contraction of Scottish. Disdained by the Scottish because of the many insulting and pejorative formations made from it by the English (such as Scotch greys "lice;" Scotch attorney, a Jamaica term from 1864 for strangler vines).

Scotch-Irish is from 1744 (adj.); 1789 (n.); more properly Scots-Irish (1966), from Scots (mid-14c.), the older adjective, which is from Scottis, the northern variant of Scottish. Scots (adj.) was used in Scottish until 18c., then Scotch became vernacular, but in mid-19c. there was a reaction against it. Scotch Tape was said to be so called because at first it had adhesive only on the edges (to make it easier to remove as a masking tape in car paint jobs), which was interpreted as a sign of cheapness on the part of the manufacturers.
scotch (n.1) Look up scotch at
1778, elliptical for Scotch whisky. See Scotch (adj.).
scotch (n.2) Look up scotch at
"incision, cut, score, gash," mid-15c., related to scotch (v.).
Scotland Look up Scotland at
named for the Scots, who settled there from Ireland 5c.-6c.; their name is of unknown origin (see Scot). Latin Scotia began to appear 9c. as the name for the region, replacing older Caledonia, also named for the inhabitants at the time, whose name likewise is of unknown origin.
Scotland Yard (n.) Look up Scotland Yard at
used for "London Metropolitan Police," 1864, from the name of short street off Whitehall, London; where from 1829 to 1890 stood the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Force, hence, the force itself, especially the detective branch. After 1890, located in "New Scotland Yard."
scotoma (n.) Look up scotoma at
(plural scotomata), 1540s, from Late Latin scotoma, from Greek skotoma "dizziness," from skotoun "to darken," from skotos "darkness" (see shade).
Scots Look up Scots at
see Scotch (adj.).
Scotsman (n.) Look up Scotsman at
late 14c., from Scots + man (n.).
Scott Look up Scott at
surname, by early 12c., from Old English Scott (see Scot); also a personal name in Old English
Scottie Look up Scottie at
type of dog, 1907, short for Scotch terrier (1810).
Scottish (adj.) Look up Scottish at
late Old English Scottisc; see Scot + -ish. Related: Scottishness.
scoundrel (n.) Look up scoundrel at
1580s, skowndrell, of unknown origin. One suggestion is Anglo-French escoundre (Old French escondre) "to hide, hide oneself," from Vulgar Latin *excondere, from Latin condere "to hide" (see abscond). The main objection to this theory is that hundreds of years lie between the two words.
scour (v.1) Look up scour at
"cleanse by hard rubbing," c. 1200, from Middle Dutch scuren, schuren "to polish, to clean," and from Old French escurer, both from Late Latin excurare "clean off," literally "take good care of," from Latin ex- "out" (see ex-) + curare "care for, take care of" (see cure (v.)). Possibly originally a technical term among Flemish workmen in England. Related: Scoured; scouring. As a noun, 1610s, from the verb.
scour (v.2) Look up scour at
"move quickly in search of something," c. 1300, probably from Old Norse skyra "rush in," related to skur "storm, shower, shower of missiles" (see shower (n.)). Perhaps influenced by or blended with Old French escorre "to run out," from Latin excurrere (see excursion). Sense probably influenced by scour (v.1).
scourge (n.) Look up scourge at
c. 1200, "a whip, lash," from Anglo-French escorge, back-formation from Old French escorgier "to whip," from Vulgar Latin *excorrigiare, from Latin ex- "out, off" (see ex-) + corrigia "thong, shoelace," in this case "whip," probably from a Gaulish word related to Old Irish cuimrech "fetter," from PIE root *reig- "to bind" (see rig (v.)). Figurative use from late 14c. Scourge of God, title given by later generations to Attila the Hun (406-453 C.E.), is attested from late 14c., from Latin flagellum Dei.
scourge (v.) Look up scourge at
c. 1300, "to whip," from Old French escorgier and from scourge (n.). Figurative meaning "to afflict" (often for the sake of punishment or purification) is from late 14c. Related: Scourged; scourging.
scouse (n.) Look up scouse at
1840, short for lobscouse "a sailor's stew made of meat, vegetables, and hardtack," of uncertain origin (compare loblolly); transferred sense of "native or inhabitant of Liverpool" (where the stew is a characteristic dish) is recorded from 1945. In reference to the regional dialect, from 1963. Related: Scouser (1959).
Lobscouse. A dish much eaten at sea, composed of salt beef, biscuit and onions, well peppered, and stewed together. [Grose, "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1788]
scout (v.1) Look up scout at
late 14c., "observe or explore as a scout, travel in search of information," from Old French escouter "to listen, heed" (Modern French écouter), from Latin auscultare "to listen to, give heed to" (see auscultate). Related: Scouted; scouting.
scout (v.2) Look up scout at
"to reject with scorn," 1710, earlier "to mock" (c. 1600), of Scandinavian origin (compare Old Norse skuta, skute "to taunt"), probably from a source related to shout (v.). Related: Scouted; scouting; scoutingly.
scout (n.) Look up scout at
"person who scouts, one sent out to gain information," 1550s, from scout (v.1). Boy Scout is from 1908. Scout's honor attested from 1908.
scouting (n.) Look up scouting at
1640s, verbal noun from scout (v.1). Boy Scout sense from 1908.
scoutmaster (n.) Look up scoutmaster at
also scout-master, 1570s, from scout (n.) + master (n.). Boy Scouting sense from 1908.
scow (n.) Look up scow at
"large flat-bottomed boat," 1780, from Dutch schouw "a ferry boat, punt," from Middle Dutch scouwe, related to Old English scaldan, Old Saxon scaldan "to push (a boat) from shore."
scowl (v.) Look up scowl at
mid-14c., from a Scandinavian source (compare Norwegian skule "look furtively, squint, look embarrassed," Danish skule "to scowl, cast down the eyes"). Probably related to Old English sceolh "wry, oblique," Old High German scelah "curved," German scheel "squint-eyed;" from PIE root *sqel- "crooked, curved, bent." Related: Scowled; scowling.
scowl (n.) Look up scowl at
c. 1500, from scowl (v.).
scrabble (v.) Look up scrabble at
1530s, "to scrawl, scribble," from Dutch schrabbelen, frequentative of schrabben "to scratch," from the same root as scrape (v.). Meaning "to struggle, scramble" first recorded 1630s. Related: Scrabbled; scrabbling.
Scrabble (n.) Look up Scrabble at
board game, 1949, proprietary name (registered U.S.), probably from scribble-scrabble "hasty writing" (1580s), a reduplication of scribble (n.).
scrag (n.) Look up scrag at
1540s, "lean person or animal, a raw-bones;" perhaps from a Scandinavian source (compare Norwegian skragg "a lean person;" dialectal Swedish skraka "a great, dry tree; a long, lean man," skragge "old and torn thing," Danish skrog "hull of a ship, carcass," Icelandic skröggr, a nickname of the fox); perhaps from root of shrink.
scraggly (adj.) Look up scraggly at
"having a rough, irregular, or ragged appearance," 1831, from scrag + -ly (1); also compare scraggy.
scraggy (adj.) Look up scraggy at
early 13c., "rough, jagged" (figurative); 1570s, of landscape, "rough, rugged, stumpy;" 1610s, of persons, "gaunt and wasted, lean, thin, bony;" see scrag + -y (2), and compare scroggy, scraggly. In Scottish, scranky. Related: Scragginess.
scram (v.) Look up scram at
1928, U.S. slang, either a shortened form of scramble (v.) or from German schramm, imperative singular of schrammen "depart." Related: Scrammed; scramming.
scramble (v.) Look up scramble at
1580s (intransitive), perhaps a nasalized variant of scrabble (v.), in its sense of "to struggle, to scrape quickly." Transitive sense "to stir or toss together randomly" is from 1822. Broadcasting sense "to make unintelligible" is attested from 1927. Related: Scrambled; scrambling. Scrambled eggs first recorded 1843.
scramble (n.) Look up scramble at
1670s, "an eager, rude contest or struggle," from scramble (v.). Meaning "a walk or ramble involving clambering and struggling with obstacles" is from 1755. Meaning "rapid take-off" first recorded 1940, R.A.F. slang.
scrannel (adj.) Look up scrannel at
"thin, meager," 1630s; any modern use traces to Milton ("Lycidas," 124), who may have invented it out of dialectal scranny (see scrawny). Or it might be from a Scandinavian source akin to Norwegian skran "rubbish." Compare English dialectal and Scottish skran "scraps, broken victuals; refuse," in military slang "food."
scrap (v.1) Look up scrap at
"to make into scrap," 1883 (of old locomotives), from scrap (n.1). Related: Scrapped; scrapping.
scrap (v.2) Look up scrap at
"to fight, brawl, box," 1867, colloquial, from scrap (n.2). Related: Scrapped; scrapping.
scrap (n.1) Look up scrap at
"small piece," late 14c., from Old Norse skrap "scraps, trifles," from skrapa "to scrape, scratch, cut" (see scrape (v.)). Meaning "remains of metal produced after rolling or casting" is from 1790. Scrap iron first recorded 1794.
scrap (n.2) Look up scrap at
"fight," 1846, possibly a variant of scrape (n.1) on the notion of "an abrasive encounter." Weekley and OED suggest obsolete colloquial scrap "scheme, villainy, vile intention" (1670s).
scrap-heap (n.) Look up scrap-heap at
1803, from scrap (n.1) + heap (n.).
scrapbook (n.) Look up scrapbook at
also scrap-book, 1821, from scrap (n.1) + book (n.). As a verb, by 1879. Related: Scrapbooked; scrapbooking.
scrape (v.) Look up scrape at
early 13c., probably from Old Norse skrapa "to scrape, erase," from Proto-Germanic *skrapojan (cognates: Old English scrapian "to scrape," Dutch schrapen, German schrappen), from PIE *skerb-, extension of root *(s)ker- "to cut" (see shear (v.)). Meaning "gather by great effort, collect with difficulty" is from 1540s. Related: Scraped; scraping. To scrape the bottom of the barrel in figurative sense is from 1942, in reference to U.S. employers facing worker shortages during the war.
scrape (n.) Look up scrape at
mid-15c., "a scraping instrument;" late 15c., "act of scraping or scratching," from scrape (v.). Meaning "a shave" is slang from 1859. Meaning "embarrassing or awkward predicament" is recorded from 1709, as OED suggests, "probably from the notion of being 'scraped' in going through a narrow passage."
scraper (n.) Look up scraper at
"instrument for scraping," 1550s, agent noun from scrape (v.). From 1560s as "miser, money-grubber;" 1610s as "fiddler;" 1792 as "barber."
scrapper (n.) Look up scrapper at
"pugilist," 1874, agent noun from scrap (v.2). Later used generally of anyone or anything that tends to put up a fight.
scrapple (n.) Look up scrapple at
"scraps of pork and cornmeal seasoned, boiled, and pressed into large cakes," 1850, probably a diminutive form of scrap (n.1) with -el (2). Noted especially, and perhaps originally, as a regional favorite dish in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
scrappy (adj.) Look up scrappy at
"consisting of scraps," 1837, from scrap (n.1) + -y (2). Meaning "inclined to fight" (1895) is from scrap (v.2). Related: Scrappily; scrappiness.