late 14c., "a dealer in skins," from skin (n.); as "one who skins," 1690s, agent noun from skin (v.). The surname is attested from mid-13c. Also in U.S. use "one who strips, robs, or plunders;" the name given to a band of marauders who committed depredations on Loyalists in New York during the Revolution. Compare Old Norse skinnari "a dealer in skins; a skinner, tanner."
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