Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. Informal To go away hastily; leave at once.
  • n. Jazz singing in which improvised, meaningless syllables are sung to a melody.
  • intransitive v. To sing scat.
  • n. Excrement, especially of an animal; dung.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A tax; tribute.
  • n. A land-tax paid in the Shetland Islands.
  • n. Animal excrement; dung.
  • n. Heroin.
  • n. Whiskey.
  • n. Coprophilia.
  • n. A shower of rain.
  • n. Scat singing.
  • v. To sing an improvised melodic solo using nonsense syllables, often onomatopoeic or imitative of musical instruments.
  • v. To leave quickly (often used in the imperative).
  • v. An imperative demand, often understood by speaker and listener as impertinent.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Tribute.
  • n. A shower of rain.
  • interj. Go away; begone; away; -- chiefly used in driving off a cat.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Be off; begone: addressed to cats and other small animals.
  • To scare or drive away (a cat or other small animal) by crying “Scat!”
  • n. A tax; tribute; specifically, a land-tax paid in the Shetland Islands.
  • n. A brisk shower of rain, driven by the wind.
  • n. Damage; loss.
  • n. See skat.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. flee; take to one's heels; cut and run
  • n. singing jazz; the singer substitutes nonsense syllables for the words of the song and tries to sound like a musical instrument

Etymologies

Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English scet, schat, from Old English sceatt ("property, goods, owndom, wealth, treasure; payment, price, gift, bribe, tax, tribute, money, goods, reward, rent, a tithe; a piece of money, a coin; denarius, twentieth part of a shilling") and Old Norse skattr ("wealth, treaure, tax, tribute, coin"); both from Proto-Germanic *skattaz (“cattle, kine, wealth, owndom, goods, hoard, treasure, geld, money”), from Proto-Indo-European *skat- (“to jump, skip, splash out”). Cognate with Scots scat ("tax, levy, charge, payment, bribe"), West Frisian skat ("treasure, darling"), Dutch schat ("treasure, hoard, darling, sweetheart"), German Schatz ("treasure, hoard, wealth, store, darling, sweetheart"), Swedish skatt ("treasure, tax, duty, jewel"), Icelandic skattur ("tax, tribute"), Latin scateō ("gush, team, bubble forth, abound"). (Wiktionary)
Origin uncertain. Perhaps from English dialectal scat ("to scatter, fling down, bespatter"), or an alteration of shit (past tense shat; compare Old English scāt), also used for "drugs, heroine". Given the given popular character of the word and unmotivated derivation pattern, derivation from Ancient Greek σκῶρ (skōr, skat-, "excrement") is unlikely (Wiktionary)
Probably imitative. (Wiktionary)
From the expression quicker than s'cat ("in a great hurry") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I've never heard anyone say, in New Orleans, even the word 'scat'.

    Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • Dinkins would have no second term, as Giuliani sniped, bitched, needled, and flung scat from the sidelines during Dinkins 'entire term — with help from his new breed patrons on the media side, and swept into power on a pounding fist and a constant, yapping bark.

    Archive 2008-01-01

  • I check out the brochure, but there is no course in scat singing.

    TBTAM Does Italy - Part 5, Road Trip to Siena

  • A researcher with the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA is testing animal scat from the 1950s and 1960s to determine whether any were left by thylacines.

    Archive 2007-06-01

  • I don't like the word scat anymore, because I learned what it literally means.

    Esperanza Spalding: Voice of the Bass

  • A troll/crank hides and flings scat from the shadows because he fears exposure.

    What a Month!

  • Joshua's mother said, that seemed to mean the same thing as a "scat" -- our Cornish word for a blow -- only the boy didn't seem to see it.

    The World's Greatest Books — Volume 06 — Fiction

  • Her scat was her signature, but her voice possessed a heavenly perfection that could make a poignant ballad or a silly ditty sound equally sublime.

    The Scat Lady

  • Weirdsmobile: Well, I also feed them Purina One, which cuts the "scat" down, as, and this may just be marketing, the less filler in the pet food, the more compact the scat.

    Use Your Old Coffee Grounds To Clean Dishes, Kill Fleas And Much More | Lifehacker Australia

  • Awareness is what enables a hunter, as he stalks an elk or a sheep, not to focus so exclusively on that animal that he is blind to all the signs -- such as scat or tracks, a dip ahead in the terrain where a bear could be concealed, magpies clustered in a tree, the scent of decaying meat -- that could possibly signal a bear's presence.

    Being Bear Aware

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Comments

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  • Is this a tall tale they tell to rubes -
    That feces formed in colonic tubes
    Is dropped as scat
    By the crafty wombat
    On top of rocks in the shape of cubes?

    The truth of the tale testing will tell.
    Listen at night for a wombat yell.
    Then pity the critter,
    That stoic emitter,
    For shitting a cube must hurt like hell.

    June 10, 2014

  • Why is wombat scat square? this article asks (http://animals.howstuffworks.com/mammals/wombat-scat.htm). So it doesn't roll away.

    June 2, 2014

  • It's a fish.
    These fish, of family Scatophagidae, eat algae and feces.

    January 2, 2012

  • “And this is without the help of creatures like hyenas, which pulverize and eat the bones of all but the largest animals. (That’s why hyena scat is white: it’s the remains of powdered bone.)�?

    The New York Times, Reflections on an Oyster, by Olivia Judson, December 30, 2008

    January 1, 2009

  • "One of my most memorable calls was also one of the grossest. It was a fetish call. A scat fetish.
    I started out by telling him I was a vegan. I cracked him up. He was laughing so hard, he had to hang up because he couldn’t get back into our fantasy."
    - anon, 'A Look In The Lives Of Phone Sex Operators' on hemmy.net, 22 June 2008.

    June 23, 2008

  • And they probably serve food in those annoying plastic baskets my brother hates.

    October 24, 2007

  • nested...quotes...headache...

    October 24, 2007

  • I guess they could have called it "Food 'n' Scram." Or, you know, taken that opportunity to not annoy skipvia, and do away with the dumb "'n'" there.

    Though I'm willing to bet they didn't even spell "'n'" right. I bet they spelled it "'n.'" Or "n." Or even "-n-".

    Bastids.

    October 24, 2007

  • Oh. Well, now you've spoiled the fun, skipvia. ;-)

    October 24, 2007

  • I'm sure the owners of "Food 'n' Scat" meant that you could eat and get out quickly, but the mental image was something entirely other.

    October 24, 2007

  • So maybe Food 'n' Scat served...uh...the sharp sound of bullets?

    I agree on the 'n' thing, too, skipvia. I once came across a restaurant called Eat 'n' Go. I decided not to take the chance.

    October 24, 2007

  • Other meanings (besides specific excrement) from the OED:

    Obsolete/rare: Treasure, money; in ME. only in phr. scat and s(c)rud.

    Obsolete/rare: Treasure. (single usage listed is from 1481. Woooo!)

    1. a. gen. A tax, tribute. Now only Hist. with reference to countries under Scandinavian rule.
    b. In Orkney and Shetland, the land-tax paid to the Crown by a udal tenant. Also, in certain parts of Scotland and the north of England, the designation of various local imposts in the 15-17th c.
    2. attrib., as scat-field, tax; scat gild, the payment or tax of ‘scat’; scat haver, malt, oats, malt, taken in payment of ‘scat’; scat land, land subject to ‘scat’.

    Dialect.
    1. A blow or buffet.
    2. ‘Anything burst or broken open; the sound of a rent; the sharp sound of a bullet’ (E.D.D.). Cf. SCAT v.3 and adv.
    3. A brief spell of weather; a short turn of work.
    4. A sudden or passing shower of rain.

    Slang.
    U.S., for whiskey.

    Jazz.
    a. A style of improvised singing in which meaningless but expressive syllables, usu. representing the sound of a musical instrument, are used instead of words.
    b. Comb., as scat-singing n., singing in this style; also as adj.; hence scat-singer and (as a back-formation) scat-sing v. trans. and intr.

    Slang.
    Heroin.

    There are a number of definitions of "scat" as a verb as well.

    Obsolete: To oppress by exactions.
    Obsolete: In phrase to scat and lot (later to scat or contribute) = ‘to scot and lot’, i.e. to contribute equally to the defraying of some charge or cost.
    Dialect: To break in pieces, shatter.

    Jazz: a. To perform scat-singing; to sing or improvise with meaningless syllables.
    b. To sing or improvise (a song) by replacing the words by meaningless syllables.

    Dial. to go scat: to fall down; to break in pieces; to become bankrupt.

    And finally, colloquial: Begone! Hence used as verb (intr.). Also in phr. quicker than scat.

    October 24, 2007

  • Ha! Skipvia, you must be a kindred spirit. (I'm purposely not going to add that phrase or even see if it's already been added, out of courtesy to seanahan so he can have some more words.) Although, I was very surprised to see several unrelated meanings for "scat" in the OED! Maybe the restaurant owners were using it in a different sense...?

    Still... dumb name for a restaurant.

    October 24, 2007

  • And I forgot to mention that I absolutely despise store names with 'n' in them. Like "Junk 'n' Stuff"...

    October 24, 2007

  • You'll enjoy this one, c_b. Near where I grew up in SC was a diner named "Food 'n' Scat." I never could get up the courage to go in there.

    October 24, 2007

  • According to the OED, "scat" in the sense of "excrement" is not all that specific: "dung. (pl.) droppings."

    Usages: 1977 Devon Wetlands (Devon County Council) xix. 74 "The two signs of Otters most likely to be found are their footprints and their droppings (usually known as scats or spraints)... Recognising spraints requires some practice particularly to avoid confusing them with Mink scats.

    1977 New Yorker 27 June 70/3 We avoid a mound of bear scat.

    October 24, 2007