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From dialectal Scots (Shetlandic and Orcadian) skerry, from Old Norse sker (whence Danish skær and Norwegian Bokmål skjær).


Skerry (small rocky island).


skerry (plural skerries)

  1. A small rocky island which may be covered by the sea at high tide or during storms.
    • 1805, George Barry, History of the Orkney Islands, page 322:
      The Seal (phoca vitulina, Lin. Syft.) which is here generally known by the name of selchy, is very common on most of our low shores, but particularly on those of the small holms and remote skerries, where it is frequently seen reposing and basking in the sun [...].
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, translated by H.L. Brækstad, Folk and Fairy Tales, page 182:
      The fog disappeared gradually, disclosing the blue line of the coast and the far outlying naked skerries, while before us lay the ocean in its interminable extent, blushing in the morning sun.
    • 1997, Bernard Scudder, transl., Egil's Saga, Penguin Books, page 46:
      Grim the Halogalander's crew sailed along Borgarfjord beyond the skerries, then cast anchor until the storm died down and the weather brightened up.
    • 2000, Jeremy Gaskell, Who Killed the Great Auk?, Oxford University Press, page 20:
      The three men proceeded, with a little difficulty, to scale the skerry, finding Gannets and Guillemots on the upper reaches.





Borrowed from Old Norse sker, from Proto-Germanic *skarją, from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ker- (to cut).


skerry (plural skerries)

  1. (chiefly Orkney, Shetland) skerry, reef
    • 2004, Sheena Blackhall, The Humpty Dumpty Man:
      Tae the icy flowes o the Shetlan voes he sailed tae Scalloway, / There his sweethairt won, far a Viking sun shines ower the skerries grey.
      (please add an English translation of this quotation)

Further reading[edit]