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Probably an alteration of scrat, from Middle English scrat, skratt, scratte, ultimately from Old Norse skratti (“a type of demon”).
- (chiefly Midland US, Southern US) The Devil.
- Synonyms: Old Nick, Old Serpent; see also Thesaurus:Satan
- 1913, Booth Tarkington, The Flirt, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Company, →OCLC:
- “Lisieux is a little town in Normandy,” she said. “I was there a few days with your father, one summer, long ago. It’s a country full of old stories, folklore, and traditions; and the people still believe in the Old Scratch pretty literally. […] ”
- ^ “Old Scratch”, in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, →ISBN.