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rfv-sense: ancillary. "Scut" actually seems to be a noun meaning drudgery or low-status work. It is often used attributively, as in "scut work" and "scut monkey". DCDuringTALK 00:18, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
I've always supposed "scut" referred to a person responsible for cleaning scuttlebutts, similar to a kitchen drudge. --Una Smith 14:16, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't think that cleaning scuttlebutts or even scuttles on a ship would be done often enough to be a noteworthy example of drudgery, compared to, say, scraping barnacles or rust. DCDuringTALK 15:02, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
I think that the ancillary form derives from scout... on another subject, I've added an etymology (3) which also would also fit the second etymology, if someone would be so kind as to check 1.) syntax and see if it 2.) fits...--BigBadBen 16:56, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
I dunno. I don't have an OED. Nor am I a Middle English or nautical maven. I'm told that nautical derivations can be hard to document. DCDuringTALK 17:01, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
The scut is a short tail, such as on deer, sheep, etc. Scut work refers both to the docking of such tails, especially in sheep, and the cleaning of wool from the scut and close environs of undocked sheep - usually well-mired with shit. It can also refer to castrating lambs, iirc. (Modern sheep husbandry involves a much less repulsive process of docking lambs.) - Amgine/talk 23:32, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
That's a better explanation than I've heard. But it would be nice to have some kind scholarly or other authoritative backup so we could put this to rest once and for all. DCDuringTALK 01:50, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm going to get from the library William Safire's Take My Word for It (1986) which has more than a page about "scut work" and see if there is anything that we could rely on, especially scholarly references. It is only available in snippet on-line. Even if we just put in conjectural etymology with qualifiers we would be better of than at present. DCDuringTALK 01:58, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
If anyone cares: The OED has several separate scut entries, and very little etymology for any of them. It does include a sense for the short, erect tail of a rabbit, deer, etc., as Amgine describes, but doesn't connect the tedious-menial-work sense to it, nor give any sense along the lines of "ancillary". —RuakhTALK 02:28, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
Clocked out. It seems to have failed. DCDuringTALK 17:45, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. RFV failed, sense removed. —RuakhTALK 18:27, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
I find it very interesting that "scut work" is particularly associated with medical training. I encountered the term ~35 YA in medical school and thought it might be a regionalism or otherwise a term that I just by chance happened to encounter there first (and curiously, saw nowhere after that), but now I see it must be distributed horzontally or vertically in teaching hospital culture. 18.104.22.168 00:56, 5 March 2011 (UTC)