skellum

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Danish schelm, from Middle Low German; cognate to German Schelm.

Noun[edit]

skellum (plural skellums)

  1. (obsolete, UK) A scoundrel.
    • Samuel Pepys' Diary - Friday 3 April 1663
      Dr. Creeton, [Robert Creighton] the Scotchman, [] ripped up Hugh Peters (calling him the execrable skellum), his preaching and stirring up the maids of the city to bring in their bodkins and thimbles.
    • Robert Burns, Tam O' Shanter (lines 17-22)
      O Tam! had'st thou but been sae wise,
      As taen thy ain wife Kate's advice!
      She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum,
      A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum;
      That frae November till October,
      Ae market-day thou was na sober.