Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To separate the valuable fibers of (flax, for example) from the woody parts by beating, combing, or scraping.
  • noun An implement or machine used for scutching.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To beat; drub.
  • To dress (fibrous material) by beating.
  • noun Same as scutcher, 1.
  • noun A coarse tow that separates from flax during scutching.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A wooden instrument used in scutching flax and hemp.
  • noun The woody fiber of flax; the refuse of scutched flax.
  • transitive verb Old or Prov. Eng. & Scot. To beat or whip; to drub.
  • transitive verb To separate the woody fiber from (flax, hemp, etc.) by beating; to swingle.
  • transitive verb To loosen and dress the fiber of (cotton or silk) by beating; to free (fibrous substances) from dust by beating and blowing.
  • transitive verb a machine used to scutch cotton, silk, or flax; -- called also batting machine.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb to beat or flog, especially for extracting the fibers from flax stalks
  • noun An implement used to separate the fibres of flax by beating them.
  • noun The woody fibre of flax; the refuse of scutched flax.
  • noun A tuft or clump of grass.

Etymologies

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

[Obsolete French escoucher, from Anglo-Norman escucher, from Vulgar Latin *excuticāre, frequentative of Latin excutere, to shake out : ex-, ex- + quatere, to shake; see kwēt- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Perhaps imitative.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Irish.

Examples

  • Nabokov, of course, would have taken delight in using "scutch"; I suppose I'd go with "I feel in my gut the Fate tugging the thread" for phonetic and associational reasons, but I would regret losing the specificity of the technical term.

    languagehat.com: SCUTCH.

  • Then you 'scutch' it, which requires scraping the last of it away with a dull knife.

    languagehat.com: SCUTCH.

  • Some would chop down the trees; some would measure and cut off the logs; some would "scutch" the logs; and others would come along with a broadaxe, and hew two sides of the logs flat.

    Last of the Pioneers, Or Old Times in East Tenn.; Being the Life and Reminiscences of Pharaoh Jackson Chesney (Aged 120 Years).

  • There is another verb scutch meaning 'to strike with a stick or whip, to slash, switch,' but although it is "not impossible" that this is "a transferred use of the verb meaning 'to dress by beating',... more probably the present verb is an independent onomatopœic formation: cf. scotch vb."

    languagehat.com: SCUTCH.

  • The specific meanings "whip" and "scutch" aren't actual, but something like "Today he has to spend the afternoon messing the hemp" would be a workable idiom if anyone actually used it.

    languagehat.com: SCUTCH.

  • But here, in the context of the Fates and thread, it clearly takes on its primordial meaning, 'to scutch.'

    languagehat.com: SCUTCH.

  • Yes, that's the first definition in my trusty Oxford: to scutch, swingle flax, hemp, etc.

    languagehat.com: SCUTCH.

  • Patches started to scutch about at the strange noise, but I held her in, and as the plane approached, I took off my hat and waved.

    Half Broke Horses

  • Patches started to scutch about at the strange noise, but I held her in, and as the plane approached, I took off my hat and waved.

    Half Broke Horses

  • Patches started to scutch about at the strange noise, but I held her in, and as the plane approached, I took off my hat and waved.

    Half Broke Horses

Comments

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  • I have just discovered this delightful festival and plan to attend if possible.

    May 28, 2009

  • *expects a report, and photos*

    May 28, 2009

  • Is travelling to see ancient words turned into festivals a sign of Wordie addiction?

    May 28, 2009

  • Yes. Yes it is. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm late for Morphewapalooza 2009.

    June 3, 2009

  • Reesetee, doesn't this word belong on your list of possible sneezes?

    June 3, 2009

  • Ooh!

    *adds*

    Thanks!

    June 3, 2009

  • Oh 'zuzu - I've long thought about making a list of old flax processing terms. You can bet scutch will lead the list!

    March 22, 2011

  • Ha ha!

    "I've long thought about making a list of old flax processing terms."

    Classic hh quote there!

    March 22, 2011

  • I've tagged a few flax-related words over on retting, if you're interested.

    God I love this site.

    March 22, 2011