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  1. a former silver coin of Denmark, Sweden, and the Danish West Indies.
  2. any of various former copper coins of Sweden and Norway.

Origin of skilling1

1690–1700; < Danish; cognate with shilling


  1. skillion.


verb (used without object) Archaic.
  1. to matter.
  2. to help; avail.

Origin of skill2

1150–1200; Middle English skilien < Old Norse skilja to distinguish, divide, akin to skil (see skill1), Old English scylian to separate, Gothic skilja butcher, Lithuanian skélti to split
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for skilling

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • A portion of the court is roofed in, and is called the "skilling."

    The Toilers of the Field

    Richard Jefferies

  • The coins in circulation are the mark, the two, the four, and the twelve skilling piece.

    Up The Baltic

    Oliver Optic

  • "But by this means he brings a skilling home," said the old woman.

    O. T.

    Hans Christian Andersen

  • In this court, too, the butter is generally churned, under a "skilling" which covers half of it.

    The Toilers of the Field

    Richard Jefferies

  • It is near enough for our purpose to say that a mark is twenty-two cents, and a skilling one cent.

    Up The Baltic

    Oliver Optic

British Dictionary definitions for skilling


  1. a former Scandinavian coin of low denomination

Word Origin

C18: from Danish and Swedish; see shilling


  1. special ability in a task, sport, etc, esp ability acquired by training
  2. something, esp a trade or technique, requiring special training or manual proficiency
  3. obsolete understanding
Derived Formsskill-less or skilless, adjective

Word Origin

C12: from Old Norse skil distinction; related to Middle Low German schēle, Middle Dutch geschil difference
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for skilling



late 12c., "power of discernment," from Old Norse skil "distinction, ability to make out, discernment, adjustment," related to skilja (v.) "to separate; discern, understand," from Proto-Germanic *skaljo- "divide, separate" (cf. Swedish skäl "reason," Danish skjel "a separation, boundary, limit," Middle Low German schillen "to differ," Middle Low German, Middle Dutch schele "separation, discrimination;" see shell (n.)). Sense of "ability, cleverness" first recorded early 13c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper