skimp (v.)
1879, probably a back-formation of skimpy. Related: Skimped; skimping.
skimpy (adj.)
1842, from skimp (adj.) "scanty" (1775), which perhaps ultimately is from an early 18c. alteration of scrimp or a variant of scamp (v.). Related: Skimpiness.
skin (n.)
c.1200, "animal hide" (usually dressed and tanned), from Old Norse skinn "animal hide, fur," from Proto-Germanic *skintha- (cognates: Old English scinn (rare), Old High German scinten, German schinden "to flay, skin;" German dialectal schind "skin of a fruit," Flemish schinde "bark"), from PIE *sken- "to cut off" (cognates: Breton scant "scale of a fish," Irish scainim "I tear, I burst"), from root *sek- "to cut" (see section (n.)).
Ful of fleissche Y was to fele, Now ... Me is lefte But skyn & boon. [hymn, c.1430]
The usual Anglo-Saxon word is hide (n.1). Meaning "epidermis of a living animal or person" is attested from early 14c.; extended to fruits, vegetables, etc. late 14c. Jazz slang sense of "drum" is from 1927. Meaning "a skinhead" is from 1970. As an adjective, it formerly had a slang sense of "cheating" (1868); sense of "pornographic" is attested from 1968. Skin deep is first attested in this:
All the carnall beauty of my wife, Is but skin-deep. [Sir Thomas Overbury, "A Wife," 1613; the poem was a main motive for his murder]
The skin of one's teeth as the narrowest of margins is attested from 1550s in the Geneva Bible literal translation of the Hebrew text in Job xix:20. To get under (someone's) skin "annoy" is from 1896. Skin-graft is from 1871. Skin merchant "recruiting officer" is from 1792.
skin (v.)
late 14c., "to remove the skin from" (originally of circumcision), from skin (n.). As "to have (a particular kind of) skin" from c.1400. In 19c. U.S. colloquial use, "to strip, fleece, plunder;" hence skin-game, one in which one player has no chance against the others (as with a stacked deck), the type of con game played in a skin-house. Skin the cat in gymnastics is from 1845. Related: Skinned; skinning.
skin-tight (adj.)
"fitting like skin," 1885, originally of men's clothing, from skin (n.) + tight (adj.).
skinflint (n.)
"miser, one who makes use of contemptible economy to keep money," 1700, slang; literally "kind of person who would skin a flint to save or gain something," from skin (v.) + flint. Flay-flint in same sense is from 1670s.
skinhead (n.)
1969, in U.K. youth gang sense, from skin (n.) + head (n.). Earlier, in U.S., it meant "man with a crew cut" (1953), especially a military recruit.
skink (n.)
1580s, from Middle French scinc (Modern French scinque), from Latin scincus, from Greek skinkos, some kind of lizard common in Asia and North Africa, of unknown origin.
skinless (adj.)
mid-14c., from skin (n.) + -less. Related: Skinlessly; skinlessness.
skinner (n.)
late 14c., "a dealer in skins," from skin (n.); as "one who skins," 1690s, agent noun from skin (v.). The surname is attested from mid-13c. Also in U.S. use "one who strips, robs, or plunders;" the name given to a band of marauders who committed depredations on Loyalists in New York during the Revolution. Compare Old Norse skinnari "a dealer in skins; a skinner, tanner."
Skinner box (n.)
1940 (earlier Skinner apparatus, 1938), from U.S. psychologist B.F. Skinner (1904-1990).
skinny (adj.)
c.1400, "resembling skin," from skin (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "lean, emaciated" is recorded from c.1600. Of clothes, "tight-fitting" by 1970. In the noun sense of "the truth" it is World War II military slang, perhaps from the notion of the "naked" truth. Related: skinniness.
skinny-dipping (n.)
1959, from skinny + dip (v.). Skinny-dip is from 1962.
skint (adj.)
"broke, out of money," 1925, slang variant of skinned, past participle of skin (v.).
skip (v.)
c.1300, "to spring lightly," also "to jump over," probably from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse skopa "to take a run," Middle Swedish skuppa "to skip, leap," from Proto-Germanic *skupan (cognates: Middle Swedish skuppa, dialectal Swedish skopa "to skip, leap"). Related: Skipped; skipping.

Meaning "omit intervening parts" first recorded late 14c. Meaning "fail to attend" is from 1905. Meaning "to cause to skip or bound" is from 1680s. The custom of skipping rope has been traced to 17c.; it was commonly done by boys as well as girls until late 19c.
skip (n.2)
short for skipper (n.1), 1830, originally in sports jargon (curling).
skip (n.1)
"a spring, a bound," early 15c., from skip (v.). Meaning "a passing over or disregarding" is from 1650s.
skipjack (n.)
1550s, "a pert shallow-brained fellow; a puppy, a whipper-snapper; a conceited fop or dandy" [OED], from skip (v.) + generic name jack (n.). Applied 1703 to tropical fishes with leaping tendencies. In reference to a kind of sailing boat used on Chesapeake Bay, attested from 1887.
skipper (n.1)
"captain or master of a ship," late 14c., from Middle Dutch scipper, from scip (see ship (n.)). Compare English shipper, used from late 15c. to 17c. in sense "skipper." Transferred sense of "captain of a sporting team" is from 1830.
skipper (n.2)
"one who skips," mid-15c., agent noun from skip (v.). As a type of butterfly, 1817, from its manner of flight.
skirl (v.)
"to make a shrill sound," mid-15c., from a Scandinavian source (compare Norwegian skyrla, skrella "to shriek"), of imitative origin. In reference to bagpipes, it is attested by 1660s and now rarely used otherwise. As a noun 1510s from the verb.
skirmish (n.)
late 14c., from Old French escarmouche "skirmish," from Italian scaramuccia, earlier schermugio, probably from a Germanic source (compare Old High German skirmen "to protect, defend"), with a diminutive or depreciatory suffix, from Proto-Germanic *skerm-, from PIE *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (see shear (v.)).

Influenced in Middle English by a separate verb skirmysshen "to brandish a weapon," from Old French eskirmiss-, stem of eskirmir "to fence," from Frankish *skirmjan, from the same Germanic source. Compare scrimmage. Other modern Germanic forms have an additional diminutive affix: German scharmützel, Dutch schermutseling, Danish skjærmydsel. Skirmish-line attested by 1864.
skirmish (v.)
c.1200, from Old French escarmouchier, from Italian scaramucciare (see skirmish (n.)). Related: Skirmished; skirmishing.
skirt (n.)
early 14c., "lower part of a woman's dress," from Old Norse skyrta "shirt, a kind of kirtle;" see shirt. Sense development from "shirt" to "skirt" is possibly related to the long shirts of peasant garb (compare Low German cognate Schört, in some dialects "woman's gown"). Sense of "border, edge" (in outskirts, etc.) first recorded late 15c. Metonymic use for "women collectively" is from 1550s; slang sense of "young woman" is from 1906; skirt-chaser first attested 1942.
skirt (v.)
c.1600, "to border, form the edge of," from skirt (n.). Meaning "to pass along the edge" is from 1620s. Related: Skirted; skirting.
skit (n.)
"piece of light satire or caricature," 1820, from earlier sense "a satirical remark or reflection" (1727), originally (1570s) "a vain, frivolous, or wanton girl" (originally Scottish, now archaic), related to verb meaning "to shy or be skittish, caper, frolic" (1610s), perhaps from Old Norse skjuta "to shoot, move quickly" (see skittish).
skite (n.)
"contemptible person," 1790, Scottish and Northern, earlier "sudden stroke or blow" (1785), perhaps from Old Norse skyt-, from skjota "to shoot" (see shoot (v.)). Compare Old Norse skita "to shit," which might have had some influence.
skitter (v.)
"to run rapidly," 1845, frequentative of skite "to dart, run quickly" (1721), perhaps from a Scandinavian source (compare Old Norse skjota "to shoot, launch, move quickly, avoid (a blow);" Norwegian dialectal skutla "glide rapidly"); see skittish. As a noun from 1905.
skittish (adj.)
early 15c., "very lively, frivolous," perhaps from Scandinavian base *skyt- (stem of Old Norse skjota "to shoot, launch, move quickly"), from PIE root *skeud- "to shoot, to chase, to throw, to project" (see shoot (v.)). Sense of "shy, nervous, apt to run" first recorded c.1500, of horses. Related: Skittishly; skittishness.
skittles (n.)
game played with nine pins, 1630s, plural of skittle, the word for the pins used in the game, probably from a Scandinavian source (compare Danish and Norwegian skyttel "shuttle, child's toy"). But OED says there is no evidence of a connection.
skive (v.1)
"split or cut into strips, pare off, grind away," 1825, from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse skifa "to cut, split," from Proto-Germanic *skif-, from Proto-Indo-European *skei- "to cut, split" (see shed (v.)). Related: Skived; skiving.
skive (v.2)
"evade duty," usually with off, 1919, probably from earlier sense "move lightly and quickly, dart" (1854), of unknown origin. Related: Skived; skiving.
skivvies (n.)
"underwear," 1932, nautical slang, of unknown origin. An earlier skivvy/skivey was London slang for "female domestic servant" (1902).
skoal (interj.)
also skol, Scandinavian toasting word, c.1600, from Danish skaal "a toast," literally "bowl, cup," from Old Norse skal "bowl, drinking vessel," originally a cup made from a shell, from Proto-Germanic *skelo, from PIE *(s)kel- (1) "to cut" (see shell (n.)). The word first appears in Scottish English, and may have been connected to the visit of James VI of Scotland to Denmark in 1589.
skosh
"a little bit," Korean War armed forces slang, from Japanese sukoshi "few, little, some."
Skraeling (n.)
1767, Norse name for inhabitants of Greenland encountered by the Viking settlers there, from Old Norse Skræingjar (plural), apparently literally "little men" (compare Icelandic skrælna "shrink"); another term for them was smair menn. The name may have been used first in reference to the inhabitants of Vineland (who would have been Indians), then transferred to Eskimos, who adopted it into their own language as Kalaleq.
Hans Egede, who published a dictionary of Greenland Eskimo in 1739, says that the Eskimos themselves told him that they got the name from the Norsemen who once lived in Greenland. [Gordon, p.217-8]
sku (n.)
by 1974, acronym from stock-keeping unit.
skua (n.)
type of predatory gull, 1670s, from Faeroese skugvur, related to Old Norse skufr "seagull, tuft, tassel," and possibly to skauf "fox's tail."
skulduddery (n.)
also sculduddery, "fornication," 1713; see skulduggery.
skulduggery (n.)
1856, apparently an alteration of Scottish sculdudrie "adultery" (1713), sculduddery "bawdry, obscenity" (1821), a euphemism of uncertain origin.
skulk (v.)
c.1200, from a Scandinavian source such as Norwegian skulke "to shirk, malinger," Danish skulke "to spare oneself, shirk," Swedish skolka "to shirk, skulk, slink, play truant." Common in Middle English but lacking in 15c.-16c. records; possibly reborrowed 17c. Related: Skulked; skulking; skulker; skulkery.
skull (n.)
"bony framework of the head," c.1200, probably from Old Norse skalli "a bald head, skull," a general Scandinavian word (compare Swedish skulle, Norwegian skult), probably related to Old English scealu "husk" (see shell (n.)). But early prominence in southwestern texts suggests rather origin from a Dutch or Low German cognate (such as Dutch schol "turf, piece of ice," but the sense of "head bone framework" is wanting). Derivation from Old French escuelle seems unlikely on grounds of sound and sense. Old English words for skull include heafod-bolla.
skull-cap (n.)
1680s, from skull (n.) + cap (n.).
skunk (n.)
1630s, squunck, from a southern New England Algonquian language (probably Abenaki) seganku, from Proto-Algonquian */šeka:kwa/, from */šek-/ "to urinate" + */-a:kw/ "fox." As an insult, attested from 1841. Skunk cabbage is attested from 1751; earlier skunkweed (1738).
skunk (v.)
"to completely defeat (in a game), to shut out from scoring," 1831, from skunk (n.). Related: Skunked; skunking.
sky (n.)
c.1200, "a cloud," from Old Norse sky "cloud," from Proto-Germanic *skeujam "cloud, cloud cover" (cognates: Old English sceo, Old Saxon scio "cloud, region of the clouds, sky;" Old High German scuwo, Old English scua, Old Norse skuggi "shadow;" Gothic skuggwa "mirror"), from PIE root *(s)keu- "to cover, conceal" (see hide (n.1)).

Meaning "upper regions of the air" is attested from c.1300; replaced native heofon in this sense (see heaven). In Middle English, the word can still mean both "cloud" and "heaven," as still in the skies, originally "the clouds." Sky-high is from 1812; phrase the sky's the limit is attested from 1908. Sky-dive first recorded 1965; sky-writing is from 1922.
sky (v.)
"to raise or throw toward the skies," 1802, from sky (n.).
skyclad (adj.)
also sky-clad, "naked," 1909, from sky (n.) + clad. Perhaps translating Sanskrit digam-bara "having the four quarters for clothing."
skyhook (n.)
also sky-hook, "imaginary device to hold things up," 1915, originally aviators' jargon, from sky (n.) + hook (n.). Applied from 1935 to actual device for lifting things into the air.
skyjack (v.)
"to hijack an airplane," 1961, apparently coined in New York "Mirror" headlines, from sky (n.) + second element of hijack (q.v.).