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 (source also of Old Saxon skeppian, Dutch scheppen, Old High German scaphan, German schöpfen "to scoop, ladle out"), from PIE root *skeubh- (source also of 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 (source also of 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" (source also of 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" (source also of 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.
scorpion (n.) Look up scorpion at
c. 1200, from Old French scorpion (12c.), from Latin scorpionem (nominative scorpio), extended form of scorpius, from Greek skorpios "a scorpion," from PIE root *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (see shear (v.)). The Spanish alacran "scorpion" is from Arabic al-'aqrab.
Scot (n.) Look up Scot at
Old English Scottas (plural) "inhabitants of Ireland, Irishmen," from Late Latin Scotti (c. 400), of uncertain origin, perhaps from Celtic (but answering to no known tribal name; Irish Scots appears to be a Latin borrowing). The name followed the Irish tribe which invaded Scotland 6c. C.E. after the Romans withdrew from Britain, and after the time of Alfred the Great the Old English word described only the Irish who had settled in the northwest of Britain.
scot-free (adj.) Look up scot-free at
Old English scotfreo "exempt from royal tax," from scot "royal tax," from Old Norse skot "contribution," literally "a shooting, shot; thing shot, missile," from PIE *skeud- "to shoot, chase, throw" (see shoot (v.); the Old Norse verb form, skjota, has a secondary sense of "transfer to another; pay") + freo (see free (adj.)). First element related to Old English sceotan "to pay, contribute," Dutch schot, German Schoß "tax, contribution." French écot "share" (Old French escot) is from Germanic.
Scotch (adj.) Look up Scotch at
"of Scotland," 1590s, contraction of Scottish. Disdained by the Scottish because of the many insulting and pejorative formations made from it by the English (such as Scotch greys "lice;" Scotch attorney, a Jamaica term from 1864 for strangler vines).

Scotch-Irish is from 1744 (adj.); 1789 (n.); more properly Scots-Irish (1966), from Scots (mid-14c.), the older adjective, which is from Scottis, the northern variant of Scottish. Scots (adj.) was used in Scottish until 18c., then Scotch became vernacular, but in mid-19c. there was a reaction against it. Scotch Tape was said to be so called because at first it had adhesive only on the edges (to make it easier to remove as a masking tape in car paint jobs), which was interpreted as a sign of cheapness on the part of the manufacturers.
scotch (v.) Look up scotch at
"stamp out, crush," 1825, earlier "make harmless for a time" (1798; a sense that derives from an uncertain reading of "Macbeth" III.ii.13), from scocchen "to cut, score, gash, make an incision" (early 15c.), of unknown origin, perhaps [Barnhart] from Anglo-French escocher, Old French cocher "to notch, nick," from coche "a notch, groove," perhaps from Latin coccum "berry of the scarlet oak," which appears notched, from Greek kokkos. Related: Scotched; scotching.
scotch (n.1) Look up scotch at
1778, elliptical for Scotch whisky. See Scotch (adj.).
scotch (n.2) Look up scotch at
"incision, cut, score, gash," mid-15c., related to scotch (v.).
Scotland Look up Scotland at
named for the Scots, who settled there from Ireland 5c.-6c.; their name is of unknown origin (see Scot). Latin Scotia began to appear 9c. as the name for the region, replacing older Caledonia, also named for the inhabitants at the time, whose name likewise is of unknown origin.
Scotland Yard (n.) Look up Scotland Yard at
used for "London Metropolitan Police," 1864, from the name of short street off Whitehall, London; where from 1829 to 1890 stood the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Force, hence, the force itself, especially the detective branch. After 1890, located in "New Scotland Yard."
scotoma (n.) Look up scotoma at
(plural scotomata), 1540s, from Late Latin scotoma, from Greek skotoma "dizziness," from skotoun "to darken," from skotos "darkness" (see shade).
Scots Look up Scots at
see Scotch (adj.).
Scotsman (n.) Look up Scotsman at
late 14c., from Scots + man (n.).
Scott Look up Scott at
surname, by early 12c., from Old English Scott (see Scot); also a personal name in Old English
Scottie Look up Scottie at
type of dog, 1907, short for Scotch terrier (1810).
Scottish (adj.) Look up Scottish at
late Old English Scottisc; see Scot + -ish. Related: Scottishness.
scoundrel (n.) Look up scoundrel at
1580s, skowndrell, of unknown origin. One suggestion is Anglo-French escoundre (Old French escondre) "to hide, hide oneself," from Vulgar Latin *excondere, from Latin condere "to hide, put away, store" (see abscond). The main objection to this theory is that hundreds of years lie between the two words.
scour (v.1) Look up scour at
"cleanse by hard rubbing," c. 1200, from Middle Dutch scuren, schuren "to polish, to clean," and from Old French escurer, both from Late Latin excurare "clean off," literally "take good care of," from Latin ex- "out" (see ex-) + curare "care for, take care of" (see cure (v.)). Possibly originally a technical term among Flemish workmen in England. Related: Scoured; scouring. As a noun, 1610s, from the verb.
scour (v.2) Look up scour at
"move quickly in search of something," c. 1300, probably from Old Norse skyra "rush in," related to skur "storm, shower, shower of missiles" (see shower (n.)). Perhaps influenced by or blended with Old French escorre "to run out," from Latin excurrere (see excursion). Sense probably influenced by scour (v.1).
scourge (n.) Look up scourge at
c. 1200, "a whip, lash," from Anglo-French escorge, back-formation from Old French escorgier "to whip," from Vulgar Latin *excorrigiare, from Latin ex- "out, off" (see ex-) + corrigia "thong, shoelace," in this case "whip," probably from a Gaulish word related to Old Irish cuimrech "fetter," from PIE root *reig- "to bind" (see rig (v.)). Figurative use from late 14c. Scourge of God, title given by later generations to Attila the Hun (406-453 C.E.), is attested from late 14c., from Latin flagellum Dei.