Noun usage possibly from the adjective scurvy influenced by or a variant of scurfy. Took on meaning of Dutch scheurbuik, French scorbut (“scurvy”), possibly from Old Norse skyrbjúgr, skyr (“sour milk”) + bjúgr (“swelling, tumour”) whence the Icelandic skyrbjúgur (“scurvy”). Compare German Scharbock, Late Latin scorbutus. Alternatively from Middle Dutch, from Middle Low German.
- Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)vi
- (medicine) A disease caused by insufficient intake of vitamin C leading to the formation of livid spots on the skin, spongy gums, loosening of the teeth and bleeding into the skin and from almost all mucous membranes.
- 2012 March 1, William E. Carter, Merri Sue Carter, “The British Longitude Act Reconsidered”, in American Scientist, volume 100, number 2, page 87:
- Conditions were horrendous aboard most British naval vessels at the time. Scurvy and other diseases ran rampant, killing more seamen each year than all other causes combined, including combat.
- (vitamin C deficiency disease): Barlow's disease, Cheadle-Möller-Barlow syndrome, Cheadle's disease, land scurvy, Moeller's disease, Möller-Barlow disease, scorbutus
- Covered or affected with scurf or scabs; scabby; scurfy; specifically, diseased with the scurvy.
- Contemptible, despicable, low, disgustingly mean.
- a scurvy trick; a scurvy knave
- (affected with scurf or scabs): roynish, scabrous; see also Thesaurus:scabby
- (contemptible): miserable, paltry, shabby; see also Thesaurus:despicable