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  • IPA(key): /skɜː(ɹ)f/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)f

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English [Term?], from Old English sceorf, from Proto-Germanic *skurf- (to gnaw), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ker- (to cut). Cognate with Dutch schurft, German Schorf, Danish skurv, Swedish skorv.


scurf (countable and uncountable, plural scurfs)

  1. A skin disease.
  2. The flakes of skin that fall off as a result of a skin disease.
    Synonym: dandruff
  3. Any crust-like formations on the skin, or in general.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book I”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, lines 670–673:
      There ſtood a Hill not far whoſe frieſly top / Belch'd fire and rowling ſmoak; the reſt entire / Shon with a gloſſie ſcurff, undoubted ſign / That in his womb was hid metallic Ore,
  4. (figurative) The foul remains of anything adherent.
    Synonym: scum
    • 1697, Virgil, “The Sixth Book of the Æneis”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. [], London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], →OCLC, page 392, line 1011:
      The Scurf is worn away, of each committed Crime
  5. (botany) Minute membranous scales on the surface of some leaves, as in the goosefoot.[1]
  6. (obsolete, slang) A low, mean person.
Derived terms[edit]
  • (low, mean person): 1873, John Camden Hotten, The Slang Dictionary

Etymology 2[edit]


scurf (plural scurfs)

  1. A grey bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus).


  1. ^ Asa Gray (1857) “[Glossary [].] Scurf.”, in First Lessons in Botany and Vegetable Physiology, [], New York, N.Y.: Ivison & Phinney and G[eorge] P[almer] Putnam & Co., [], →OCLC.