Middle English shrede "scrap or fragment; strip hanging from a garment," from Old English screade "piece cut off, cutting, scrap," from Proto-Germanic *skraudōn- (source also of Old Frisian skred "a cutting, clipping," Middle Dutch schroode "shred," Middle Low German schrot "piece cut off," Old High German scrot, "scrap, shred, a cutting, piece cut off," German Schrot "log, block, small shot," Old Norse skrydda "shriveled skin"), from PIE *skreu- "to cut; cutting tool," extension of root *sker- (1) "to cut."
Middle English shreden, "chop, cut up into small strips or slices," from Old English screadian "to peel, prune, cut off," from Proto-Germanic *skraud- (source also of Middle Dutch scroden, Dutch schroeien, Old High German scrotan, German schroten "to shred"), from root of shred (n.). In reference to the destruction of documents, by 1906. Related: Shredded; shredding.
"knife, machine, or other device for shredding," 1570s, agent noun from shred (v.). In the paper-disposal sense by 1950.
early 15c., "fragment, piece torn off," also "strip of cloth," a northern England dialectal variant of Old English screade (see shred (n.)). Meaning "lengthy speech" is by 1812, from the notion of reading from a long list or simply a "long strip" of speaking.
"torn into shreds," 1570s, past-participle adjective from shred (v.). Shredded wheat, grain cut into long filaments, frequently eaten for breakfast, is recorded from 1885.
c. 1400, scroule, scrowell, "roll of parchment or paper" used for writing, an altered (by association with rolle "roll") of scrowe (c. 1200), from Anglo-French escrowe, Old French escroe, escroele "scrap, strip or roll of parchment," from Frankish *skroda "shred" or a similar Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *skrauth- (source also of Old English screada "piece cut off, cutting, scrap"), from PIE *skreu- "to cut; cutting tool," extension of root *sker- (1) "to cut." Also compare shred (v.)). As a spiral-shaped decorative device, resembling a partly unrolled scroll, by early 15c. on garments, by 1610s on furniture or in architecture.
1590s, in law, "a writing fully executed by the parties, but put into the custody of a third person to hold until the fulfilment of some condition, when it is to be delivered to the grantee;" from Anglo-French escrowe, from Old French escroe "scrap, small piece, rag, tatter, single parchment," from a Germanic source akin to Old High German scrot "a scrap, shred, a piece cut off" (see shred (n.)). The notion of a deed delivered to a third person until a future condition is satisfied led to the sense of "a deposit of money held in trust or security" (1888).
early 15c., "the formal enumerating of the votes in an election to an office or dignity" (according to OED, "Now chiefly in Canon Law"), from Late Latin scrutinium "a search, inquiry" (in Medieval Latin, "a mode of election by ballot"), from Latin scrutari "to examine, investigate, search" (from PIE root *skreu- "to cut; cutting tool;" see shred (n.)). The meaning "close investigation or examination" is recorded from c. 1600.
Perhaps the original notion of the Latin word is "to search among rubbish," via scruta (plural) "trash, rags, rubbish" ("shreds"); or the original sense might be "to cut into, scratch."
1841, "a young cod, split and fried or boiled," a New England word of uncertain origin, 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]
Old English scrud "a garment, article of clothing, dress, something which envelops and conceals," from West Germanic *skruthan, from Proto-Germanic *skrud- "cut" (source also of Old Norse skruð "shrouds of a ship, tackle, gear; furniture of a church," Danish, Swedish skrud "dress, attire"), from PIE *skreu- "to cut" (see shred (n.)).
The specific meaning "winding-sheet for a dead body, cloth or sheet for burial," to which the word now is restricted, is attested from 1560s. The sense of "strong rope supporting the mast of a ship" (mid-15c.) is from the notion of "clothing" a spar or mast; one without rigging was said to be naked.