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score (n.)

late Old English scoru "twenty," from Old Norse skor "mark, notch, incision; a rift in rock," also, in Icelandic, "twenty," from Proto-Germanic *skur-, from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut."

The connecting notion probably is counting large numbers (of sheep, etc.) with a notch in a stick for each 20. That way of counting, called vigesimalism, also exists in French: In Old French, "twenty" (vint) or a multiple of it could be used as a base, as in vint et doze ("32"), dous vinz et diz ("50"). Vigesimalism was or is a feature of Welsh, Irish, Gaelic and Breton (as well as non-IE Basque), and it is speculated that the English and the French picked it up from the Celts. Compare tally (n.).

The prehistoric sense of the Germanic word, then, likely was "straight mark like a scratch, line drawn by a sharp instrument," but in English this is attested only from c. 1400, along with the sense "mark made (on a chalkboard, etc.) to keep count of a customer's drinks in a tavern." This sense was extended by 1670s to "mark made for purpose of recording a point in a game or match," and thus "aggregate of points made by contestants in certain games and matches" (1742, originally in whist).

From the tavern-keeping sense comes the meaning "amount on an innkeeper's bill" (c. 1600) and thus the figurative verbal expression settle scores (1775). Meaning "printed piece of music" first recorded 1701, said to be from the practice of connecting related staves by scores of lines. Especially "music composed for a film" (1927). Meaning "act of obtaining narcotic drugs" is by 1951.

Scoreboard is from 1826; score-keeping- from 1905; newspaper sports section score line is from 1965; baseball score-card is from 1877.

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score (v.)
"to cut with incisions or notches," c. 1400; "to record by means of notches" (late 14c.); see score (n.). Meanings "to keep record of the scores in a game, etc." and "to make or add a point for one's side in a game, etc." both attested from 1742. The slang sense, in reference to men, "achieve intercourse" first recorded 1960. Meaning "to be scorekeeper, to keep the score in a game or contest" is from 1846. In the musical sense from 1839. Related: Scored; scoring.
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outscore (v.)

in sports and games, "to score more than," 1921, from out- + score (v.). Related: Outscored; outscoring.

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underscore (v.)
1771, "to draw a line under," from under + score (v.). The figurative sense of "to emphasize" is attested from 1891. Noun meaning "a line drawn below (something)" is recorded from 1901.
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fourscore (n.)
"eighty, four times twenty," mid-13c., "formerly current as an ordinary numeral" [OED], from four + score (n.). Archaic by the time Lincoln used it at Gettysburg in 1863. Related: Fourscorth "eightieth."
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scar (n.1)
late 14c., from Old French escare "scab" (Modern French escarre), from Late Latin eschara, from Greek eskhara "scab formed after a burn," literally "hearth, fireplace," of unknown origin. English sense probably influenced by Middle English skar (late 14c.) "crack, cut, incision," from Old Norse skarð, related to score (n.). Figurative sense attested from 1580s.
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notch (v.)

1590s, "cut a notch or notches in," from notch (n.). Earlier verb (before misdivision) was Middle English ochen "to cut, slash" (c. 1400). Meaning "to place in a notch, to fit (an arrow) to the string by the notch" is from 1630s. Meaning "to mark or score" (1837) is sporting slang, originally in cricket, from the old method of keeping score; notch (n.) as "a nick in a stick, etc., as a means of keeping score" is from 1570s (also compare score, tally). Related: Notched; notching.

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tally (n.)
mid-15c., "stick marked with notches to indicate amount owed or paid," from Anglo-French tallie (early 14c., Old French taille "notch in a piece of wood signifying a debt"), Anglo-Latin talea (late 12c.), from Medieval Latin tallia, from Latin talea "a cutting, rod, stick" (see tailor (n.), and compare sense history of score). Meaning "a thing that matches another" first recorded 1650s, from practice of splitting a tally lengthwise across the notches, debtor and creditor each retaining one of the halves; the usual method of keeping accounts before writing became general (the size of the notches varied with the amount). Sports sense of "a total score" is from 1856. Also in 19c. British provincial verbal expression live tally, make a tally bargain "live as husband and wife without marrying."
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*sker- (1)

also *ker-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to cut."

It forms all or part of: bias; carnage; carnal; carnation; carnival; carnivorous; carrion; cenacle; charcuterie; charnel; corium; cortex; crone; cuirass; currier; curt; decorticate; excoriate; incarnadine; incarnate; incarnation; kirtle; scabbard; scar (n.2) "bare and broken rocky face of a cliff or mountain;" scaramouche; scarf (n.2) "connecting joint;" scarp; score; scrabble; scrap (n.1) "small piece;" scrape; screen; screw; scrimmage; scrofula; scrub (n.1) "low, stunted tree;" scurf; shard; share (n.1) "portion;" share (n.2) "iron blade of a plow;" sharp; shear; shears; sheer (adj.) "absolute, utter;" shirt; shore (n.) "land bordering a large body of water;" short; shrub; skerry; skirmish; skirt.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit krnati "hurts, wounds, kills," krntati "cuts;" Hittite karsh- "to cut off;" Greek keirein "to cut, shear;" Latin curtus "short;" Lithuanian skiriu, skirti "to separate;" Old English sceran, scieran "to cleave, hew, cut with a sharp instrument;" Old Irish scaraim "I separate;" Welsh ysgar "to separate," ysgyr "fragment."

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