noun, verb (used with object) Shipbuilding.



noun, plural scarfs.

a tapered or otherwise-formed end on each of the pieces to be assembled with a scarf joint.
Whaling. a strip of skin along the body of the whale.

verb (used with object)

to assemble with a scarf joint.
to form a scarf on (the end of a timber).
Steelmaking. to burn away the surface defects of (newly rolled steel).
Whaling. to make a groove in and remove (the blubber and skin).
Also scarph (for defs 1, 3, 4).

Origin of scarf

1490–1500; < Old Norse skarfr (derivative of skera to cut) end cut from a beam (hence perhaps a piece of cloth cut off, i.e., scarf1); compare Swedish skarv patch
Related formsscarf·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scarph

Historical Examples of scarph

  • The long tapered end of one piece of timber made to fay into a scarph at the end of another piece, to gain length.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

British Dictionary definitions for scarph



noun plural scarves (skɑːvz) or scarfs

a rectangular, triangular, or long narrow piece of cloth worn around the head, neck, or shoulders for warmth or decoration

verb (tr) rare

to wrap with or as if with a scarf
to use as or in the manner of a scarf

Word Origin for scarf

C16: of uncertain origin; compare Old Norman French escarpe, Medieval Latin scrippum pilgrim's pack; see scrip ²



noun plural scarfs

Also called: scarf joint, scarfed joint a lapped joint between two pieces of timber made by notching or grooving the ends and strapping, bolting, or gluing the two pieces together
the end of a piece of timber shaped to form such a joint
NZ a wedge-shaped cut made in a tree before felling, to determine the direction of the fall
whaling an incision made along a whale's body before stripping off the blubber

verb (tr)

to join (two pieces of timber) by means of a scarf
to make a scarf on (a piece of timber)
to cut a scarf in (a whale)

Word Origin for scarf

C14: probably from Scandinavian; compare Norwegian skarv, Swedish skarf, Low German, Dutch scherf scarf 1
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 scarph



"band of silk, strip of cloth," 1550s, "a band worn across the body or over the shoulders," probably from Old North French escarpe "sash, sling," which probably is identical with Old French escherpe "pilgrim's purse suspended from the neck," perhaps from Frankish *skirpja or some other Germanic source (cf. Old Norse skreppa "small bag, wallet, satchel"), or from Medieval Latin scirpa "little bag woven of rushes," from Latin scirpus "rush, bulrush," of unknown origin [Klein]. As a cold-weather covering for the neck, first recorded 1844. Plural scarfs began to yield to scarves early 18c., on model of half/halves, etc.



"connecting joint," late 13c., probably from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse skarfr "nail for fastening a joint," Swedish skarf, Norwegian skarv). A general North Sea Germanic ship-building word (cf. Dutch scherf), the exact relationship of all these is unclear. Also borrowed into Romanic (cf. French écart, Spanish escarba); perhaps ultimately from Proto-Germanic *skarfaz (cf. Old English sceorfan "to gnaw, bite"), from PIE *(s)ker- "to cut" (see shear (v.)). Also used as a verb.



"eat hastily," 1960, U.S. teen slang, originally a noun meaning "food, meal" (1932), perhaps imitative, or from scoff (attested in a similar sense from 1846). Or perhaps from a dialectal survival of Old English sceorfan "to gnaw, bite" (see scarf (n.2)); a similar word is found in a South African context in the 1600s. Related: Scarfed; scarfing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper