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From Scots scuff (to touch lightly, graze, hit), of obscure origin. Perhaps from Old Norse skúfa (to shove, push aside), from Proto-Germanic *skeubaną (to shove). More at English shove.



scuff (third-person singular simple present scuffs, present participle scuffing, simple past and past participle scuffed)

  1. To scrape the feet while walking.
  2. To hit lightly, to brush against.
    • 1979, V. S. Naipaul, A Bend in the River:
      The lawns and gardens had been scuffed away.
    • 2011 December 29, Keith Jackson, “SPL: Celtic 1 Rangers 0”, in Daily Record[1]:
      Wallace threw himself at it to connect with a flying header. He looked a certain scorer but his effort scuffed the inside of Fraser Forster’s post.
  3. To mishit (a shot on a ball) due to poor contact with the ball.
    • 2011 September 2, “Wales 2-1 Montenegro”, in BBC[2]:
      The Montenegro captain was finding space at will and followed up with a speculative shot that he scuffed wide, after Wales were slow in closing down the Juventus striker.

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scuff (plural scuffs)

  1. (sometimes attributive) A mark left by scuffing or scraping.
    Someone left scuff marks in the sand.
    • 2015, Charles W. Jones, Hydrangeas on the Lanai
      He flung his shoes across the room, their soles leaving black scuffs on the dingy wall.
  2. The back part of the neck; the scruff.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ld. Lytton to this entry?)

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