Definitions

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

  • n. A filmy layer of extraneous or impure matter that forms on or rises to the surface of a liquid or body of water.
  • n. The refuse or dross of molten metals.
  • n. Refuse or worthless matter.
  • n. Slang One, such as a person or an element of society, that is regarded as despicable or worthless.
  • transitive v. To remove the scum from.
  • intransitive v. To become covered with scum.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A layer of impurities that accumulates at the surface of a liquid (especially molten metal or water).
  • n. A greenish water vegetation (such as algae), usually found floating on the surface of ponds
  • n. The topmost liquid layer of a cesspool or septic tank.
  • n. (derogatory, slang) A reprehensible person or persons.
  • v. To remove the layer of scum from (a liquid etc.).
  • v. To remove (something) as scum.
  • v. To scour (the land, sea etc.).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The extraneous matter or impurities which rise to the surface of liquids in boiling or fermentation, or which form on the surface by other means; also, the scoria of metals in a molten state; dross.
  • n. refuse; recrement; anything vile or worthless.
  • intransitive v. To form a scum; to become covered with scum. Also used figuratively.
  • transitive v. To take the scum from; to clear off the impure matter from the surface of; to skim.
  • transitive v. To sweep or range over the surface of.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To remove the scum from; clear off the froth, dross, or impurities that have risen to or formed on the surface of; skim.
  • To sweep over; move swiftly upon; skim.
  • To arise or be formed on the surface as foam or scum; be thrown up as scum.
  • To be or become covered with scum: generally with over.
  • To skim lightly: with over.
  • n. Foam; froth: as, the scum of the sea.
  • n. The impurities or extraneous substances which rise to the surface of liquids, as in boiling or fermentation, or which form by other means; also, the scoria of molten metals; hence, by extension, any film or surface of foul floating matter: as, the scum of a stagnant pond.
  • n. Refuse; dross; offscourings.

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

  • n. worthless people
  • v. remove the scum from
  • n. a film of impurities or vegetation that can form on the surface of a liquid

Etymologies

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

Middle English, from Middle Dutch schūm; see (s)keu- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English scum, scom, from Old English *scūm ("foam") or Middle Dutch schūme ("foam"), both from Proto-Germanic *skūmaz (“froth, foam”), from Proto-Indo-European *skeu- (“to cover, conceal”). Cognate with Dutch schuim ("foam"), German Schaum ("foam"), Danish and Swedish skum ("foam"). Compare also French écume ("scum"), Italian schiuma ("foam") from the same Germanic source. Related to skim.

Examples

Comments

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  • Citation on pus.

    June 22, 2008

  • "During this period (the late 1960s), Valerie Solanas wrote and self-published the work for which she is best known — a call for destruction of men and men-loving women, as well as the liberation of women, called the SCUM Manifesto. SCUM is generally held to be an acronym of "Society for Cutting Up Men," although this acronym does not appear in the manifesto itself. SCUM gained Solanas a following among some feminists."

    December 9, 2007