scratch (n.) Look up scratch at Dictionary.com
1580s, "slight skin tear produced by a sharp thing," from scratch (v.). Meaning "mark or slight furrow in metal, etc." is from 1660s. American English slang sense of "money" is from 1914, of uncertain signification. Many figurative senses (such as up to scratch, originally "ready to meet one's opponent") are from sporting use for "line or mark drawn as a starting place," attested from 1778 (but the earliest use is figurative); meaning "nothing" (as in from scratch) is 1918, generalized from specific 19c. sporting sense of "starting point of a competitor who receives no odds in a handicap match." Sense in billiards is from 1850. Scratch-pad is attested from 1883.
Scratch (n.2) Look up Scratch at Dictionary.com
in Old Scratch "the Devil," 1740, from earlier Scrat, from Old Norse skratte "goblin, wizard," a word which was used in late Old English to gloss "hermaphrodite;" probably originally "monster" (compare Old High German scraz, scrato "satyr, wood demon," German Schratt, Old High German screz "a goblin, imp, dwarf;" borrowed from Germanic into Slavic, as in Polish skrzat "a goblin").
scratchy (adj.) Look up scratchy at Dictionary.com
1710, "affected with 'the scratch,'" a skin disease, from scratch (n.1) + -y (2). Meaning "composed of scratches" is from 1827; that of "grating" is from 1866. Of sounds (especially in reproduction) from 1889. Related: Scratchiness.
scrawl (v.) Look up scrawl at Dictionary.com
1610s, "write or draw untidily," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Middle English scrawlen "spread out the limbs, sprawl" (early 15c.), which possibly is an alteration of sprawlen (see sprawl (v.)) or crawl (v.). Related: Scrawled; scrawling. The noun is recorded from 1690s, from the verb. Meaning "bad handwriting" is from 1710.
scrawny (adj.) Look up scrawny at Dictionary.com
1824, apparently a dialectal variant of scranny "lean, thin" (1820), which is of uncertain origin but probably from a Scandinavian source, perhaps Old Norse skrælna "to shrivel." Compare scrannel.
scream (v.) Look up scream at Dictionary.com
late 12c., scræmen, of uncertain origin, similar to words in Scandinavian, Dutch, German, and Flemish (such as Old Norse skræma "to terrify, scare," Swedish scrana "to scream," Dutch schreijen "cry aloud, shriek," Old High German scrian, German schreien "to cry"). Related: Screamed; screaming. Screaming meemies is World War I army slang, originally a soldiers' name for a type of German artillery shell that made a loud noise in flight (from French woman's name Mimi), extended to the battle fatigue caused by long exposure to enemy fire.
scream (n.) Look up scream at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from scream (v.).
And (as they say) lamentings heard i' th' Ayre; Strange Schreemes of Death. ["Macbeth," II.iii.61]
Shakespeare's spelling probably reflects "sk-" as spelled in words from Latin (such as school); he also has schreene for screen. Slang meaning "something that evokes a cry of laughter" is 1888; screamer in this sense is from 1831.
scree (n.) Look up scree at Dictionary.com
"pile of debris at the base of a cliff," 1781, back-formation from screes (plural) "pebbles, small stones," from Old Norse skriða "landslide," from skriða "to creep, crawl;" of a ship, "to sail, glide," also "to slide" (on snow-shoes), from Proto-Germanic *skrithanan (cognates: Old English scriþan "to go, glide," Old Saxon skridan, Dutch schrijden, Old High German scritan, German schreiten "to stride").
screech (v.) Look up screech at Dictionary.com
1570s, alteration of scritch (mid-13c., schrichen), possibly of imitative origin (compare shriek). Related: Screeched; screeching. Screech-owl is attested from 1590s (scritch-owl is from 1520s).
screech (n.) Look up screech at Dictionary.com
1550s, from screech (v.). Earlier scritch (1510s).
screed (n.) Look up screed at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "fragment," also "strip of cloth," from northern England dialectal variant of Old English screade (see shred (n.)). Meaning "lengthy speech" is first recorded 1789, from notion of reading from a long list.
screen (n.) Look up screen at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "upright piece of furniture providing protection from heat of a fire, drafts, etc.," probably from a shortened (Anglo-French? compare Anglo-Latin screna) variant of Old North French escren, Old French escran "fire-screen" (early 14c.), perhaps from Middle Dutch scherm "screen, cover, shield," or Frankish *skrank "barrier," from Proto-Germanic *skerm- (cognates: Old High German skirm, skerm "protection," from PIE *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (see shear (v.)).

Meaning "net-wire frame used in windows and doors" is recorded from 1859. Meaning "flat vertical surface for reception of projected images" is from 1810, originally in reference to magic lantern shows; later of movies. Transferred sense of "cinema world collectively" is attested from 1914; hence screen test (1918), etc. Screen saver first attested 1990. Screen printing recorded from 1918.
screen (v.) Look up screen at Dictionary.com
"to shield from punishment, to conceal," late 15c., from screen (n.). Meaning "examine systematically for suitability" is from 1943; sense of "to release a movie" is from 1915. Related: Screened; screening.
screenplay (n.) Look up screenplay at Dictionary.com
1916, from screen (n.) in the cinematic sense + play (n.).
screenshot (n.) Look up screenshot at Dictionary.com
by 1991, from (computer) screen (n.) + shot (n.) in the photograph sense.
screenwriter (n.) Look up screenwriter at Dictionary.com
1921, from screen (n.) in the film sense + writer.
screw (n.) Look up screw at Dictionary.com
"cylinder of wood or metal with a spiral ridge round it; hole in which a screw turns," c.1400, from Middle French escroue "nut, cylindrical socket, screwhole," of uncertain etymology; not found in other Romanic languages. Perhaps via Gallo-Roman *scroba or West Germanic *scruva from Vulgar Latin scrobis "screw-head groove," in classical Latin "ditch, trench," also "vagina" (Diez, though OED finds this "phonologically impossible").

Kluge, Watkins and others trace it to Latin scrofa "breeding sow," perhaps based on the shape of a pig's penis (compare Portuguese porca, Spanish perca "a female screw," from Latin porca "sow"). Latin scrofa is literally "digger, rooter," from PIE root *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (see shear (v.)). A group of apparently cognate Germanic words (Middle Low German, Middle Dutch schruve, Dutch schroef, German Schraube, Swedish skrufva "screw") are said to be French loan-words.

Sense of "means of pressure or coercion" is from 1640s, probably in reference to instruments of torture (such as thumbscrews). Meaning "prison guard, warden" is 1812 in underworld slang, originally in reference to the key they carried (screw as slang for "key" attested from 1795). Slang meaning "an act of copulation" is recorded from 1929 (meaning "a prostitute" is attested from 1725). To have a screw loose "have a dangerous (usually mental) weakness" is recorded from 1810.
screw (v.) Look up screw at Dictionary.com
"to twist (something) like a screw," 1590s, from screw (n.). From 1610s as "to attach with a screw." Slang meaning "to copulate" dates from at least 1725, originally usually of the action of the male, on the notion of driving a screw into something. Meaning "defraud, cheat" is from 1900. First recorded 1949 in exclamations as a euphemism. Related: Screwed; screwing. To screw up "blunder" is recorded from 1942. Screwed up originally was figurative for "tuned to a high or precise pitch" (1907), an image from the pegs of stringed instruments. Meaning "confused, muddled" attested from 1943. Expression to have (one's) head screwed on the right (or wrong) way is from 1821.
screwball (n.) Look up screwball at Dictionary.com
"eccentric person," 1933, U.S. slang, earlier as a type of erratic baseball pitch (1928), from a still earlier name for a type of delivery in cricket (1866), from screw (n.) + ball (n.1). Screwball comedy is attested from 1938, in reference to Carole Lombard.
screwdriver (n.) Look up screwdriver at Dictionary.com
also screw-driver, "tool for driving screws," 1779, from screw (n.) + driver. Meaning "cocktail made from vodka and orange juice" is recorded from 1956. (Screwed/screwy have had a sense of "drunk" since 19c.; compare slang tight "drunk").
screwy (adj.) Look up screwy at Dictionary.com
1820, "tipsy, slightly drunk," from screw (n.) + -y (2.). Sense of "crazy, ridiculous" first recorded 1887. Related: Screwily; screwiness.
scribble (v.) Look up scribble at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Medieval Latin scribillare, diminutive of Latin scribere "to write" (see script (n.)). Related: Scribbled; scribbling. The noun, "hurried or careless writing," is 1570s, from the verb.
scribbler (n.) Look up scribbler at Dictionary.com
"petty author," 1550s, agent noun from scribble (v.).
scribe (v.) Look up scribe at Dictionary.com
"to write," mid-15c., from Latin scribere "to write" (see script (n.)).
scribe (n.) Look up scribe at Dictionary.com
c.1200, "professional interpreter of the Jewish Law" (late 11c. as a surname), from Church Latin scriba "teacher of Jewish law," used in Vulgate to render Greek grammateus (corresponding to Hebrew sopher "writer, scholar"), special use of Latin scriba "keeper of accounts, secretary, writer," from past participle stem of scribere "to write;" see script (n.). Sense "one who writes, official or public writer" in English is from late 14c.
scrim (n.) Look up scrim at Dictionary.com
"upholstery lining," 1792, of unknown origin.
scrimmage (n.) Look up scrimmage at Dictionary.com
sometimes also scrummage, late 15c., alteration of skirmish (n.). Meaning in rugby and U.S. football dates from 1857, originally "a confused struggle between players."
scrimmage (v.) Look up scrimmage at Dictionary.com
1825, "quarrel, argue," from scrimmage (n.). Team sports sense is from 1881. Related: Scrimmaged; scrimmaging.
scrimp (v.) Look up scrimp at Dictionary.com
"to make too small," 1774, originally in English an adjective, "scant, meager" (1718), possibly from a Scandinavian source (compare Swedish skrumpna "to shrink, shrivel up," Danish skrumpen "shrunken, shriveled"), or from a continental Germanic source akin to Middle High German schrimpfen, German schrumpfen "to shrivel," from Proto-Germanic *skrimp-, from PIE root *(s)kerb- "to turn, bend." Related: Scrimped; scrimping.
scrimpy (adj.) Look up scrimpy at Dictionary.com
1855, from scrimp (v.) + -y (2). Related: Scrimpily; scrimpiness.
scrimshaw (n.) Look up scrimshaw at Dictionary.com
1864, "A nautical word of unstable orthography" [Century Dictionary], back-formation from scrimshander ("Moby Dick," 1851), scrimshonting (1825), American English, of unknown origin. Scrimshaw is an English surname, attested from mid-12c., from Old French escremisseor "fencing-master."
scrip (n.) Look up scrip at Dictionary.com
"certificate of a right to receive something" (especially a stock share), 1762, probably shortened from (sub)scrip(tion) receipt. Originally "receipt for a portion of a loan subscribed," meaning "certificate issued as currency" first recorded 1790.
script (n.) Look up script at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "something written," earlier scrite (c.1300), from Old French escrit "piece of writing, written paper; credit note, IOU; deed, bond" (Modern French écrit) from Latin scriptum "a writing, book; law; line, mark," noun use of neuter past participle of scribere "to write," from PIE *skribh- "to cut, separate, sift" (cognates: Greek skariphasthai "to scratch an outline, sketch," Lettish skripat "scratch, write," Old Norse hrifa "scratch"), from root *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (see shear (v.)) on the notion of carving marks in stone, wood, etc.

Meaning "handwriting" is recorded from 1860. Theatrical use, short for manuscript, is attested from 1884. The importance of Rome to the spread of civilization in Europe is attested by the fact that the word for "write" in Celtic and Germanic (as well as Romanic) languages derives from scribere (French écrire, Irish scriobhaim, Welsh ysgrifennu, German schreiben). The cognate Old English scrifan means "to allot, assign, decree" (see shrive; also compare Old Norse skript "penance") and Modern English uses write (v.) to express this action.
script (v.) Look up script at Dictionary.com
"adapt (a work) for broadcasting or film," 1935, from script (n.). Related: Scripted; scripting.
scriptorium (n.) Look up scriptorium at Dictionary.com
"writing room," 1774, from Late Latin scriptorium "place for writing," noun use of neuter of Latin scriptorius "pertaining to writing," from Latin scriptus, past participle of scribere "to write" (see script (n.)).
scriptural (adj.) Look up scriptural at Dictionary.com
1640s, from Modern Latin scripturalis, from Latin scriptura (see scripture). Related: Scripturally.
scripture (n.) Look up scripture at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "the sacred writings of the Bible;" mid-14c., "a writing, an act of writing, written characters," from Late Latin scriptura "the writings contained in the Bible, a passage from the Bible," in classical Latin "a writing, character, inscription," from scriptus, past participle of scribere "write" (see script (n.)).
scritch Look up scritch at Dictionary.com
see screech.
scrivener (n.) Look up scrivener at Dictionary.com
"professional penman, copyist," late 14c. (early 13c. as a surname), with superfluous -er + scrivein "scribe" (c.1300), from Old French escrivain "a writer, notary, clerk" (Modern French écrivain), from Vulgar Latin *scribanem accusative of scriba "a scribe," from scribere (see script (n.)).
scrod (n.) Look up scrod at Dictionary.com
1841, "young cod, split and fried or boiled," possibly from Dutch schrood "piece cut off," from Middle Dutch scrode "shred" (cognate with Old English screade "piece cut off;" see shred (n.)). If this is the origin, the notion is probably of fish cut into pieces for drying or cooking.
A Boston brahmin is on a business trip to Philadelphia. In search of dinner, and hungry for that Boston favorite, broiled scrod, he hops into a cab and asks the driver, "My good man, take me someplace where I can get scrod." The cabbie replies, "Pal, that's the first time I've ever been asked that in the passive pluperfect subjunctive." [an old joke in Philadelphia, this version of it from "Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch," Constance Hale, 2012]
scrofula (n.) Look up scrofula at Dictionary.com
c.1400, scrophulas (plural) from Late Latin scrofulæ (plural) "swelling of the glands of the neck," literally "little pigs," from Latin scrofa "breeding sow" (see screw (n.)). The connection may be because the glands associated with the disease resemble the body of a sow or some part of it, or because pigs were thought to be prone to it. Compare Greek khoirades (plural) "scrofula," related to khoiros "young pig."
scrofulous (adj.) Look up scrofulous at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Medieval Latin scrophulosus; see scrofula + -ous. Related: Scrofulously; scrofulousness.
scroggy (adj.) Look up scroggy at Dictionary.com
"overgrown with bushes," Scottish and northern English, mid-15c., from scrog (n.) "a stunted bush, a shrub-like plant" (c.1400), probably related to scrag "a lean person or thing" (1570s); compare scraggly.
scroll (n.) Look up scroll at Dictionary.com
c.1400, "roll of parchment or paper," altered (by association with rolle "roll") from scrowe (c.1200), from Anglo-French escrowe, Old French escroe "scrap, roll of parchment," from Frankish *skroda "shred" or a similar Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *skrauth- (cognates: Old English screada "piece cut off, cutting, scrap;" see shred (n.)). As an ornament on furniture or in architecture, from 1610s.
scroll (v.) Look up scroll at Dictionary.com
"to write down in a scroll," c.1600, from scroll (n.). Sense of "show a few lines at a time" (on a computer or TV screen) first recorded 1981. Related: Scrolled; scrolling.
scrollwork (n.) Look up scrollwork at Dictionary.com
1822, from scroll (n.) + work (n.).
Scrooge (n.) Look up Scrooge at Dictionary.com
generic for "miser," 1940, from curmudgeonly character in Dickens' 1843 story "A Christmas Carol." It does not appear to be a genuine English surname. Compare scrounge.
scrotum (n.) Look up scrotum at Dictionary.com
"purse-like tegumentary investment of the testes and part of the spermatic cord; the cod" [Century Dictionary], 1590s, from Latin scrotum, probably transposed from scortum "a skin, hide" (see corium), perhaps by influence of scrautum "leather quiver for arrows."
"Isn't the sea what Algy calls it: a grey sweet mother? The snotgreen sea. The scrotum-tightening sea. Epi oinopa ponton." [Joyce, "Ulysses"]
Related: Scrotal.
scrounge (v.) Look up scrounge at Dictionary.com
"to acquire by irregular means," 1915, alteration of dialectal scrunge "to search stealthily, rummage, pilfer" (1909), of uncertain origin, perhaps from dialectal scringe "to pry about;" or perhaps related to scrouge, scrooge "push, jostle" (1755, also Cockney slang for "a crowd"), probably suggestive of screw, squeeze. Popularized by the military in World War I. Related: Scrounged; scrounging.
scrub (v.) Look up scrub at Dictionary.com
"rub hard," early 15c., earlier shrubben (c.1300), perhaps from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German schrubben "to scrub," or from an unrecorded Old English cognate, or from a Scandinavian source (such as Danish skrubbe "to scrub"), probably ultimately from the Proto-Germanic root of shrub, used as a cleaning tool (compare the evolution of broom, brush (n.1)).

Meaning "to cancel" is attested from 1828 (popularized during World War II with reference to flights), probably from notion of "to rub out, erase" an entry on a listing. Related: Scrubbed; scrubbing.