English [ edit ]
Alternative forms [ edit ]
Etymology [ edit ]
Middle English , scum , from scom * Old English scūm ( “ foam ”) or Middle Dutch ( schūme “ foam ”), both from Proto-Germanic ( *skūmaz “ froth, foam ”), from Proto-Indo-European ( *skeu- “ to cover, conceal ”). Cognate with Dutch ( schuim “ foam ”), German ( Schaum “ foam ”), and Danish Swedish ( skum “ foam ”). Compare also French ( écume “ scum ”), Italian ( schiuma “ foam ”) Walloon ( schome “ scum, foam ”) from the same Germanic source. Related to . skim
Pronunciation [ edit ]
scum ( , countable and uncountable plural ) scums
( uncountable ) A layer of impurities that accumulates at the surface of a liquid (especially molten metal or water).
( uncountable ) A greenish water vegetation (such as algae), usually found floating on the surface of ponds The topmost liquid layer of a
cesspool or septic tank.
( uncountable , slang , chiefly US ) semen
( countable , derogatory , slang ) A reprehensible person or persons.
( countable , derogatory , slang ) police officer(s)
Synonyms [ edit ]
Related terms [ edit ]
Translations [ edit ]
greenish water vegetation
topmost liquid layer of a cesspool or septic tank
person or persons considered to be reprehensible
scum ( third-person singular simple present , scums present participle , scumming simple past and past participle ) scummed
To remove the layer of scum from (a liquid etc.).
remove (something) as scum.
1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.vii:
scumd the drosse, that from the metall came; / Some stird the molten owre with ladles great [...]. To become covered with scum.
1769, Elizabeth Raffald, The Experienced English House-keeper, pp. 321-322:
Take the smallest Cucumbers you can get, and as free from Spots as possible, put them into a strong Salt and Water for nine or ten Days, or 'till they are quite Yellow, and stir them twice a Day at least, or they will
scum over, and grow soft
( obsolete ) To scour (the land, sea etc.).
1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book I.13:
Soo by Merlyns aduys ther were sente fore rydars to
skumme the Countreye, & they mette with the fore rydars of the north [… ] Milton
Wandering up and down without certain seat, they lived by
scumming those seas and shores as pirates.
( obsolete ) To gather together, as scum.
1815, Rudolf Ackerman and Frederic Shoberl, The Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions and Politics
A great majority of the members are
scummed together from the Jacobinical dregs of former periods of the revolution.
Anagrams [ edit ]