- a film or layer of foul or extraneous matter that forms on the surface of a liquid.
- refuse or offscourings.
- a low, worthless, or evil person.
- such persons collectively; riffraff; dregs.
- scoria(def 1).
- to remove the scum from.
- to remove as scum.
- to form scum; become covered with scum.
Origin of scum
Examples from the Web for scum
Scum from both sides, just out like buzzards to pick up what they could.Ride Proud, Rebel!
Andre Alice Norton
Scum like you has ter come ter the mark sooner or later, and come yer have.Indian and Scout
F. S. Brereton
"Scum of the earth, most of them," he said, his plain face glowing.The Street of Seven Stars
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Scum it off with your spoon, and lay it in anotherPage 117 dish.The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened
On Scum exist the lowest conditions of life found in any stellar world.Life in a Thousand Worlds
William Shuler Harris
- a layer of impure matter that forms on the surface of a liquid, often as the result of boiling or fermentation
- the greenish film of algae and similar vegetation surface of a stagnant pond
- Also called: dross, scruff the skin of oxides or impurities on the surface of a molten metal
- waste matter
- a worthless person or group of people
- (tr) to remove scum from
- (intr) rare to form a layer of or become covered with scum
Word Origin and History for scum
early 14c. (implied in scummer "shallow ladle for removing scum"), from Middle Dutch schume "foam, froth," from Proto-Germanic *skuma- (cf. Old Norse skum, Old High German scum, German Schaum "foam, froth"), perhaps from PIE root *(s)keu- "to cover, conceal" (see hide (n.1)).
Sense deteriorated from "thin layer atop liquid" to "film of dirt," then just "dirt." Meaning "lowest class of humanity" is 1580s; scum of the Earth is from 1712. Adopted in Romanic, cf. Old French escume, Modern French écume, Spanish escuma, Italian schiuma.