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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.
- A skin disease.
- The flakes of skin that fall off as a result of a skin disease.
- Synonym: dandruff
- Any crust-like formations on the skin, or in general.
- 1667, John Milton, “Book I”, in Paradise Lost. […], London: […] [Samuel Simmons], […], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554, 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,
- (figuratively) The foul remains of anything adherent.
- Synonym: scum
- (botany) Minute membranous scales on the surface of some leaves, as in the goosefoot.
- (obsolete, slang) A low, mean person.
flakes of skin
- (low, mean person): 1873, John Camden Hotten, The Slang Dictionary
scurf (plural scurfs)