"miser, one who makes use of contemptible economy to keep money," 1700, slang; literally "kind of person who would skin a flint to save or gain something," from skin (v.) + flint. Flay-flint in same sense is from 1670s. Among the 18c. slang terms for a miserly person was nipcheese (1785, originally "a ship's purser").
generic for "miser," by 1905, from curmudgeonly employer in Dickens' 1843 story "A Christmas Carol." It does not appear to be a genuine English surname; in old dictionaries it is an 18c. variant of scrouge "to squeeze, press, crowd (someone)," also scrudge, etc., an 18c. provincial word that is the source of scrounge.
1550s, "instrument for scraping," originally a type of knife, agent noun from scrape (v.). Especially an iron implement at or near a door of a house from which to scrape dirt from the soles of shoes or boots" (1729). From 1560s as "miser, money-grubber;" 1610s as a derogatory term for a fiddler; 1792 as a contemptuous term for a barber. The earlier noun was Middle English scrapel (mid-14c.); also compare scrape (n.).
"mean or stingy person, miser," late 14c., nigard, nygard, nygart, also with a variant nigoun, nygun (c. 1300), a word of uncertain origin. The suffix suggests French origin (see -ard), but the root word is possibly from earlier nig "stingy" (c. 1300), which is perhaps from a Scandinavian source related to Old Norse *hniggw, related to hnøggr "stingy," from Proto-Germanic *khnauwjaz (source of Swedish njugg "close, careful," German genau "precise, exact"). Perhaps also related to Old English hneaw "stingy, niggardly," which did not survive in Middle English. A noun nig "niggardly person" is attested from c. 1300, but OED considers this unlikely to be the source of the longer word.
c. 1300 (late 12c. as a surname), "base or low-born rustic," from Anglo-French and Old French vilain "peasant, farmer, commoner, churl, yokel" (12c.), from Medieval Latin villanus "farmhand," from Latin villa "country house, farm" (from PIE root *weik- (1) "clan"). Meaning "character in a novel, play, etc. whose evil motives or actions help drive the plot" is from 1822.
The most important phases of the sense development of this word may be summed up as follows: 'inhabitant of a farm; peasant; churl, boor; clown; miser; knave, scoundrel.' Today both Fr. vilain and Eng. villain are used only in a pejorative sense. [Klein]
also muckraker, c. 1600, "one who rakes muck" (earliest use is in a figurative sense: "a miser"), from muck-rake "rake for scraping muck or filth" (mid-14c.), from muck (n.) + rake (n.). The figurative meaning "one who inquires into and publishes scandal and allegations of corruption among political and business leaders" was popularized 1906 in speech by President Theodore Roosevelt, in reference to the "man ... with a Muckrake in his hand" in Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" (1684) who seeks worldly gain by raking filth.
The men with the muck-rakes are often indispensable to the well-being of society, but only if they know when to stop raking the muck. [T. Roosevelt, quoted in "Cincinnati Enquirer," April 15, 1906.]
Muck-rake (n.) in sense "person who hunts scandal" is attested from 1872. To muck-rake (v.) in the literal sense is from 1879; figuratively from 1910. Related: Muck-raking.
infectious disease causing eruptions of rose-colored papulae, early 14c., plural of Middle English masel "little spot,"which isperhaps from Middle Dutch masel "blemish" (in plural "measles") or Middle Low German masele, both from Proto-Germanic *mas- "spot, blemish" (source also of Old High German masla "blood-blister," German Masern "measles").
There might have been an Old English cognate, but if so it has not been recorded. "The phonetic development is irregular" [OED] and the form might have been influenced by Middle English mēsel "leprous; a leper; leprosy" (late 13c., obsolete from mid-16c.), which is from Old French mesel and directly from Medieval Latin misellus "a wretch," noun use of an adjective meaning "wretched," a diminutive of Latin miser "unhappy, wretched, pitiable, in distress."