scintillate (v.) Look up scintillate at
1620s, from Latin scintillatus, past participle of scintillare "to sparkle, glitter, gleam, flash," from scintilla "spark" (see scintilla). Related: Scintillated; scintillating.
scintillation (n.) Look up scintillation at
1620s, from Latin scintilationem (nominative scintillatio), noun of action from past participle stem of scintillare (see scintillate).
sciolism (n.) Look up sciolism at
"a show of knowledge," 1798; see sciolist + -ism.
sciolist (n.) Look up sciolist at
1610s, "smatterer, pretender to knowledge," from Late Latin sciolus "one who knows a little," diminutive of scius "knowing," from scire "to know" (see science) + -ist. Related: Sciolistic.
sciomancy (n.) Look up sciomancy at
"divination by ghostly communication," 1620s, from Modern Latin sciomantia, from scio-, Latinized comb. form of Greek skia "shade, shadow" (see shine (v.)) + Latinized form of Greek manteia (see -mancy).
scion (n.) Look up scion at
c. 1300, "a shoot or twig," especially one for grafting, from Old French sion, cion "descendant; shoot, twig; offspring" (12c., Modern French scion, Picard chion), of uncertain origin. OED rejects derivation from Old French scier "to saw." Perhaps a diminutive from Frankish *kid-, from Proto-Germanic *kidon-, from PIE *geie- "to sprout, split, open" (see chink (n.1)). Figurative use is attested from 1580s in English; meaning "an heir, a descendant" is from 1814, from the "family tree" image.
sciophobia (n.) Look up sciophobia at
"fear of shadows," 1977, from scio-, Latinized comb. form of Greek skia "shade, shadow" (see shine (v.)) + -phobia. Related: sciophobe; sciophobic.
scirrhous (n.) Look up scirrhous at
1560s, from Middle French scirrheux (16c., Modern French squirreux), from Modern Latin scirrhosus, from Latin scirros "a hard swelling, tumor," from Greek skirrhos "hard tumor," from skiros (adj.) "hard," of unknown origin.
scission (n.) Look up scission at
"act of cutting or dividing," mid-15c., from French scission (14c.), from Late Latin scissionem (nominative scissio) "a cleaving, dividing," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin scindere "to cut" (see shed (v.)).
scissor (v.) Look up scissor at
1610s, "to cut with scissors;" 1961 with reference to leg motions (in the wrestling sense it is attested from 1968); see scissors. Related: Scissored; scissoring.
scissors (n.) Look up scissors at
late 14c., sisoures, from Old French cisoires (plural) "shears," from Vulgar Latin *cisoria (plural) "cutting instrument," from *cisus (in compounds such as Latin excisus, past participle of excidere "to cut out"), ultimately from Latin caedere "to cut" (see -cide). Spelling with sc- is 16c., from influence of Medieval Latin scissor "tailor," in classical Latin "carver, cutter," from past participle stem of scindere "to split."

Usually with pair of (attested from c. 1400) when indication of just one is required, but a singular form without the -s occasionally was used (cysowre, mid-15c.). In Scotland, shears answers for all sizes, according to OED; but in England generally that word is used only for those too large to be worked by one hand. Sense in wrestling is from 1904. Oh scissors! was a 19c. exclamation of impatience or disgust (1843). In reference to a type of swimming kick, from 1902 (the image itself is from 1880s).
SCLC (n.) Look up SCLC at
initialism (acronym) of Southern Christian Leadership Conference, founded 1957 by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, and others.
sclera (n.) Look up sclera at
1886, medical Latin, from Greek sklera (menix) "the hard (membrane)," fem. of skleros "hard" (see sclerosis).
sclero- Look up sclero- at
before vowels scler-, word-forming element meaning "hard," from Latinized form of Greek sklero-, comb. form of skleros "hard," related to skellein "to dry up, parch," from PIE *skle-ro-, from root *skele- "to parch, wither."
scleroderma (n.) Look up scleroderma at
1866, from Modern Latin, from Greek skleros "hard" (see sclerosis) + derma "skin" (see derma). Related: Sclerodermatous; sclerodermatic.
sclerosis (n.) Look up sclerosis at
"morbid hardening of the tissue," late 14c., from Medieval Latin sclirosis "a hardness, hard tumor," from Greek sklerosis "hardening," from skleros "hard" (see sclero-). Figurative use by 1954.
sclerotic (adj.) Look up sclerotic at
early 15c., "pertaining to sclerosis," from medical Latin scleroticus, from Greek skleroun (see sclerosis). Figurative meaning "unchanging, rigid" is from 1961.
scoff (v.) Look up scoff at
mid-14c., "jest, make light of something;" mid-15c., "make fun of, mock," from the noun meaning "contemptuous ridicule" (c. 1300), from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse skaup, skop "mockery, ridicule," Middle Danish skof "jest, mockery;" perhaps from Proto-Germanic *skub-, *skuf- (cognates: Old English scop "poet," Old High German scoph "fiction, sport, jest, derision"), from PIE *skeubh- "to shove" (see shove (v.)).
scoffer (n.) Look up scoffer at
late 15c., agent noun from scoff (v.).
scofflaw (n.) Look up scofflaw at
1924, from scoff (v.) + law (n.). The winning entry in a national contest during Prohibition to coin a word to characterize a person who drinks illegally, chosen from more than 25,000 entries; the $200 winning prize was split between two contestants who sent in the word separately: Henry Irving Dale and Miss Kate L. Butler. Other similar attempts did not stick, such as pitilacker (1926), winning entry in a contest by the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to establish a scolding word for one who mistreats animals (submitted by Mrs. M. McIlvaine Bready of Mickleton, N.J.).
scold (n.) Look up scold at
mid-12c., "person of ribald speech," later "person fond of abusive language" (c. 1300), especially a shrewish woman [Johnson defines it as "A clamourous, rude, mean, low, foul-mouthed woman"], from Old Norse skald "poet" (see skald). The sense evolution might reflect the fact that Germanic poets (like their Celtic counterparts) were famously feared for their ability to lampoon and mock (as in skaldskapr "poetry," also, in Icelandic law books, "libel in verse").
scold (v.) Look up scold at
late 14c., "be abusive or quarrelsome," from scold (n.). Related: Scolded; scolding.
scolex (n.) Look up scolex at
"embryo stage of a tapeworm," 1852, from Modern Latin scolex (plural scoleces), from Greek skolex "worm," related to skolyptesthai "to twist and turn," from PIE *skel- (3) "crooked" (see scoliosis).
scoliosis (n.) Look up scoliosis at
lateral curvature of the spine, 1706, medical Latin, from Greek skoliosis "crookedness," from skolios "bent, curved," from PIE root *skel- (3) "crooked, curved," with derivatives referring to crooked parts of the body (as in Greek skelos "leg, limb"). Related: Scoliotic.
sconce (n.) Look up sconce at
late 14c., "candlestick with a screen," a shortening of Old French esconse "lantern, hiding place," from Medieval Latin sconsa, from Latin absconsa, fem. past participle of abscondere "to hide" (see abscond). Meaning "metal bracket-candlestick fastened to a wall" is recorded from mid-15c.
scone (n.) Look up scone at
"thin, flat soft cake," 1510s, Scottish, probably shortened from Dutch schoon brood "fine bread," from Middle Dutch schoonbroot, from schoon, scone "bright, beautiful" (see sheen) + broot (see bread (n.)).
scooch (v.) Look up scooch at
by 1987, informal. Related: Scooched; scooching.
scoop (v.) Look up scoop at
mid-14c., "to bail out," from scoop (n.) and from Low German scheppen "to draw water," from Proto-Germanic *skuppon (cognates: Old Saxon skeppian, Dutch scheppen, Old High German scaphan, German schöpfen "to scoop, ladle out"), from PIE root *skeubh- (cognates: Old English sceofl "shovel," Old Saxon skufla; see shove (v.)). In the journalistic sense from 1884. Related: Scooped; scooping.
scoop (n.) Look up scoop at
early 14c., "utensil for bailing out," from Middle Dutch schope "bucket for bailing water," from West Germanic *skopo (cognates: Middle Low German schope "ladle"), from Proto-Germanic *skop-, from PIE *(s)kep- "to cut, to scrape, to hack" (see scabies). Also from Middle Dutch schoepe "a scoop, shovel" (Dutch schop "a spade," related to German Schüppe "a shovel," also "a spade at cards").

Meaning "action of scooping" is from 1742; that of "amount in a scoop" is from 1832. Sense of "a big haul, as if in a scoop net" is from 1893. The journalistic sense of "news published before a rival" is first recorded 1874, American English, from earlier commercial slang verbal sense of "appropriate so as to exclude competitors" (c. 1850).
scooper (n.) Look up scooper at
1660s, "one who scoops;" 1837 as a tool for scooping, agent noun from scoop (v.).
scoot (v.) Look up scoot at
1758, "run, fly, make off," perhaps originally nautical slang; 1805, "flow or gush out with force" (Scottish), of uncertain origin, possibly from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse skjota "to shoot," related to shoot (v.). Related: Scooted; scooting. As a noun from 1864.
scooter (n.) Look up scooter at
1825, "one who goes quickly," agent noun from scoot (v.). Also in 19c. a type of plow and a syringe. As a child's toy, from 1919 (but the reference indicates earlier use), as short for motor scooter from 1917.
scop (n.) Look up scop at
"poet, minstrel," Old English scop, cognate with Old High German scoph "poetry, sport, jest," Old Norse skop "railing, mockery" (see scoff (v.)).
scopa (n.) Look up scopa at
tuft of hairs on a bee's leg, from Latin scopae (plural) "twigs, shoots; a broom, brush," related to scapus "shaft" (see scape (n.2)).
scope (n.1) Look up scope at
"extent," 1530s, "room to act," from Italian scopo "aim, purpose, object, thing aimed at, mark, target," from Latin scopus, from Greek skopos "aim, target, object of attention; watcher, one who watches" from metathesized form of PIE *spek-yo-, from root *spek- "to observe" (cognates: Sanskrit spasati "sees;" Avestan spasyeiti "spies;" Greek skopein "behold, look, consider," skeptesthai "to look at;" Latin specere "to look at;" Old High German spehhon "to spy," German spähen "to spy"). Sense of "distance the mind can reach, extent of view" first recorded c. 1600.
scope (n.2) Look up scope at
"instrument for viewing," 1872, abstracted from telescope, microscope, etc., from Greek skopein "to look" (see scope (n.1)). Earlier used as a shortening of horoscope (c. 1600).
scope (v.) Look up scope at
"to view," 1807, from the source of scope (n.2). Related: Scoped; scoping.
scopophilia (n.) Look up scopophilia at
"voyeurism," 1924 (in a translation of Freud), from Greek -skopia "observation" (see scope (n.1)) + -philia. In early use often scoptophilia through a mistake by Freud's translators. Modern form by 1937. Related: Scopophiliac.
scoptic (adj.) Look up scoptic at
1660s, "mocking, scoffing," from Greek skoptikos "given to mockery," from skoptein "to mock, jest."
scorbutic (adj.) Look up scorbutic at
1650s, from Modern Latin scorbuticus "pertaining to scurvy," from scorbutus "scurvy," from French scorbut, apparently of Dutch (scheurbuik) or Low German (Scharbock) origin; see scurvy. Scorbute "scurvy" is attested from 1590s, from French.
scorch (v.) Look up scorch at
"to burn superficially or slightly, but so as to change the color or injure the texture," early 14c., perhaps an alteration of scorrcnenn "make dry, parch" (c. 1200), of obscure origin, perhaps from Old Norse skorpna "to be shriveled," cognate with Old English scrimman "to shrink, dry up." Or perhaps from Old French escorchier "to strip off the skin," from Vulgar Latin excorticare "to flay," from ex- (see ex-) + Latin cortex (genitive corticis) "cork;" but OED finds this not likely. Scorched earth military strategy is 1937, translation of Chinese jiaotu, used against the Japanese in a bid to stem their advance into China.
scorcher (n.) Look up scorcher at
"very hot day," 1874, agent noun from scorch (v.). It also means or has meant "stinging attack" (1842), "pretty girl" (1881), "line drive in baseball" (1900).
score (n.) Look up score at
late Old English scoru "twenty," from Old Norse skor "mark, notch, incision; a rift in rock," also, in Icelandic, "twenty," from Proto-Germanic *skura-, from PIE root *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (see shear).

The connecting notion probably is counting large numbers (of sheep, etc.) with a notch in a stick for each 20. That way of counting, called vigesimalism, also exists in French: In Old French, "twenty" (vint) or a multiple of it could be used as a base, as in vint et doze ("32"), dous vinz et diz ("50"). Vigesimalism was or is a feature of Welsh, Irish, Gaelic and Breton (as well as non-IE Basque), and it is speculated that the English and the French picked it up from the Celts. Compare tally (n.).

The prehistoric sense of the Germanic word, then, likely was "straight mark like a scratch, line drawn by a sharp instrument," but in English this is attested only from c. 1400, along with the sense "mark made (on a chalkboard, etc.) to keep count of a customer's drinks in a tavern." This sense was extended by 1670s to "mark made for purpose of recording a point in a game or match," and thus "aggregate of points made by contestants in certain games and matches" (1742, originally in whist).

From the tavern-keeping sense comes the meaning "amount on an innkeeper's bill" (c. 1600) and thus the figurative verbal expression settle scores (1775). Meaning "printed piece of music" first recorded 1701, said to be from the practice of connecting related staves by scores of lines. Especially "music composed for a film" (1927). Meaning "act of obtaining narcotic drugs" is by 1951.

Scoreboard is from 1826; score-keeping- from 1905; newspaper sports section score line is from 1965; baseball score-card is from 1877.
score (v.) Look up score at
"to cut with incisions or notches," c. 1400; "to record by means of notches" (late 14c.); see score (n.). Meanings "to keep record of the scores in a game, etc." and "to make or add a point for one's side in a game, etc." both attested from 1742. The slang sense, in reference to men, "achieve intercourse" first recorded 1960. Meaning "to be scorekeeper, to keep the score in a game or contest" is from 1846. In the musical sense from 1839. Related: Scored; scoring.
scoreless (adj.) Look up scoreless at
in games, 1880, from score (n.) + -less.
scorn (n.) Look up scorn at
c. 1200, a shortening of Old French escarn "mockery, derision, contempt," a common Romanic word (Spanish escarnio, Italian scherno) of Germanic origin, from Proto-Germanic *skarnjan "mock, deride" (cognates: Old High German skern "mockery, jest, sport," Middle High German scherzen "to jump with joy").

Probably influenced by Old French escorne "affront, disgrace," which is a back-formation from escorner, literally "to break off (someone's) horns," from Vulgar Latin *excornare (source of Italian scornare "treat with contempt"), from Latin ex- "without" (see ex-) + cornu "horn" (see horn (n.)).
scorn (v.) Look up scorn at
c. 1200, from Anglo-French, Old North French escarnir (Old French escharnir), from the source of scorn (n.). Cognate with Old High German skernon, Middle Dutch schernen. Related: Scorned; scorning. Forms in Romanic languages influenced by confusion with Old French escorner "deprive of horns," hence "deprive of honor or ornament, disgrace."
scorner (n.) Look up scorner at
c. 1300, agent noun from scorn (v.).
scornful (adj.) Look up scornful at
mid-14c.; see scorn (n.) + -ful. Scorny was 19c. U.S. colloquial. Related: Scornfully; scornfulness.
Scorpio (n.) Look up Scorpio at
zodiacal constellation, late 14c., from Latin scorpio (poetic scorpius) "scorpion," also the zodiac constellation (see scorpion). The meaning "person born under or ruled by the sign of Scorpio" is recorded from 1968.