Saturday, December 4, 2010


Scurf \SKURF\ , noun;
1. The scales or small shreds of epidermis that are continually exfoliated from the skin
2. Any scaly matter or incrustation on the surface

According to
This word first appears in late Old English as sceorf from Proto-Germanic *skurf-, which is probably from the same root as Old English sceorfan ("to gnaw") or scearfian ("to cut into shreds").

At first glance the definition of this word is kind of gross, but considering we lose tons of skin cells everyday it's really pretty benign. This, however, has not always been the case. The Oxford English Dictionary lists a number of obsolete and rare definitions:
~ A morbid condition of the skin, especially the head, characterized by the separation of branny scales, without inflammation
~ A similar condition as above, but in animals
~ A scab
~ The 'scum' of the population (rare, but not completely obsolete)
~ A contemptable person, especially a miser or a skinflint (slang)
~ An employer who pays less than the usual rate of wages (slang)
~ A laborer who accepts less than the usual rate (slang)

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Saturday, December 4

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