Origin unknown. Perhaps of North Germanic origin (compare Old Norse skutill (“bolt, harpoon”), Danish skyttel (“shuttle, child's toy”)). Compare also Old English sċytel (“a dart, bolt”). More at shuttle.
skittle (plural skittles)
- (intransitive) To play skittles.
- (transitive) To beat comprehensively.
- (transitive) To knock down.
- (transitive) To use as a recreational drug a certain over-the-counter cough medication that is taken orally and whose tablets are said to resemble Skittles.