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

  • n. Scaly or shredded dry skin, such as dandruff.
  • n. A loose scaly crust coating a surface, especially of a plant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A skin disease.
  • n. The flakes of skin that fall off as a result of a skin disease.
  • n. Any crust-like formations on the skin, or in general.
  • n. The foul remains of anything adherent.
  • n. Minute membranous scales on the surface of some leaves, as in the goosefoot.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Thin dry scales or scabs upon the body; especially, thin scales exfoliated from the cuticle, particularly of the scalp; dandruff.
  • n. Hence, the foul remains of anything adherent.
  • n. Anything like flakes or scales adhering to a surface.
  • n. Minute membranous scales on the surface of some leaves, as in the goosefoot.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Scaly or flaky matter on the surface of the skin; the scarf-skin or epidermis exfoliated in fine shreds or scales.
  • n. Any scaly or flaky matter on a surface.
  • n. Specifically
  • n. In botany, a loose bran-like scaly matter that is found on some leaves, as in the genus Elæagnus, etc.
  • n. A growth of polyps on oysters.
  • n. Scum; offscouring.
  • n. A gray bulltrout; a variety of the trout, Salmo trutta cambricus.
  • n. A fungous disease of potatoes, due to Rhizoctonia Solani, which gives the tubers a scurfy appearance and is accompanied by decay.

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

  • n. a thin flake of dead epidermis shed from the surface of the skin
  • n. (botany) a covering that resembles scales or bran that covers some plant parts


Middle English, probably of Scandinavian origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • In addition to keeping the hair perfectly clean, this brushing prevents the possibility of any scurf or dandruff – and scurf is death to the hair.

    How I Take Care Of My Hair | Edwardian Promenade

  • In the iris of the eye the atrophied condition of the skin is indicated by a heavy, dark rim, the so-called scurf rim.

    Nature Cure

  • The black rim seen more or less distinctly in the outer rim of the iris in the eyes of the majority of people has been called the scurf rim, because it was found that this dark rim appears in the iris after the suppression of scurfy and other forms of skin eruptions and after the external or internal use of lotions, ointments and medicines containing mercury, zinc, iodine, arsenic or other poisons which suppress or destroy the life and activity of the skin.

    Nature Cure

  • A woolly kind of scurf, scraped off the leaf stalks, is used for calking boats, and the stem furnishes a small quantity of wood.

    Catalogue of Economic Plants in the Collection of the U. S. Department of Agriculture

  • In the course of a week of this treatment the scurf ought to be quite cured.

    How I Take Care Of My Hair | Edwardian Promenade

  • I should strongly recommend the doctor being called in when there is scurf, but sometimes a home remedy like “golden ointment,” which is a compound of mercury, will cure the condition rapidly.

    How I Take Care Of My Hair | Edwardian Promenade

  • He got up onto his hands and knees and felt carefully round inside the byre, but there was nothing even faintly edible—only a scurf of moldy hay.

    Songs of Love & Death

  • Match weed or broomweed, scurf-pea, sunflowers, goldenrods, and ragweed occur from Oklahoma into Canada.

    Great Plains Steppe Province (Bailey)

  • Pastures were grazed down to scurf by sheep and goats, or abandoned to thickets.


  • He taught them how to destroy scurf on wheat, by sprinkling it and the granary and inundating the cracks in the floor with a solution of common salt; and how to chase away weevils by hanging up orviot in bloom everywhere, on the walls and the ceilings, among the grass and in the houses.

    Les Miserables


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