English [ edit ]
Alternative forms [ edit ]
Etymology [ edit ]
Middle English , scum , scome , skum , skome , from scumme Middle Dutch schūme ( “ foam ” ), from Proto-Germanic *skūmaz ( “ froth, foam ” ), from Proto-Indo-European *skew- ( “ 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 ” ), Lithuanian šamas ( “ catfish ” ) and skanus ( “ tasty ” ) from the same Germanic source. Related to .
Pronunciation [ edit ]
scum ( , countable and uncountable plural )
( uncountable ) A layer of impurities that accumulates at the surface of a liquid (especially molten metal or water).
During smelting, scum rises to the surface and is then removed by the smelter.
( uncountable ) A greenish water vegetation (such as algae), usually found floating on the surface of ponds
These organisms form scum in large quantities. The topmost liquid layer of a
cesspool or septic tank.
( uncountable , slang , chiefly US ) semen ( derogatory , slang ) A reprehensible person or persons.
People who sell used-up pens are scum, just total low-lives.
Synonyms [ edit ]
Derived terms [ edit ]
Translations [ edit ]
greenish water vegetation
topmost liquid layer of a cesspool or septic tank
person or persons considered to be reprehensible
escòria , (ca) púrria (ca) Danish:
afskum (da) n Dutch:
tuig (nl) Esperanto:
aĉulo , (eo) ŝaŭmo (eo) ( also collective ), , feĉulo feĉo ( also collective ) Finnish:
roskaväki , (fi) pohjasakka (fi) French:
ordure (fr) , f salaud (fr) , m racaille (fr) , f drigaille (fr) f ( Louisiana ) Galician:
xentalla , f gandaiada , f cafualla , f gafullada f German:
Abschaum (de) m Greek:
απόβρασμα (el) n ( apóvrasma ), κάθαρμα (el) n ( kátharma ) Hebrew: חֶלְאָה (he) f ( ẖel'á )
gramaisc f Jamaican Creole:
waste gyal , f waste man m Latin:
caenum , n sentīna , f faex f Macedonian:
џган m ( džgan ) Portuguese:
escória (pt) f Russian:
подле́ц (ru) m ( podléc ), негодя́й (ru) m ( negodjáj ), ( also collective ) сво́лочь (ru) f ( svóločʹ ); ( collective: ) отро́дье (ru) n ( otródʹje ), отре́бье (ru) n ( otrébʹje ), шваль (ru) f ( švalʹ ), не́чисть (ru) f ( néčistʹ ), сброд (ru) m ( sbrod ), шу́шера (ru) f ( šúšera ), шантропа́ (ru) f ( šantropá ) Spanish:
gentuza (es) , f escoria , (es) canalla (es) Swedish:
jävel (sv) c Welsh: gwehilion c pl
scum ( third-person singular simple present , scums present participle , scumming simple past and past participle )
To remove the layer of scum from (a liquid etc.).
remove (something) as scum.
1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.vii:
Some 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, chapter xiij, in , book I:
Le Morte Darthur SOo by Merlyns aduys ther were sente fore rydars to skumme the Countreye / & they mette with the fore rydars of the north / and made hem to telle whiche wey the hooste cam / and thenne they told it to Arthur / and by kyng Ban and Bors counceill they lete brenne and destroye alle the contrey afore them there they shold ryde
( 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. ( video games , informal ) To startscum or savescum.
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Anagrams [ edit ]