[ skur-uh-luhs, skuhr- ]
/ ˈskɜr ə ləs, ˈskʌr- /


grossly or obscenely abusive: a scurrilous attack on the mayor.
characterized by or using low buffoonery; coarsely jocular or derisive: a scurrilous jest.

Nearby words

  1. scur,
  2. scurf,
  3. scurfy,
  4. scurrile,
  5. scurrility,
  6. scurrilously,
  7. scurry,
  8. scurvy,
  9. scurvy grass,
  10. scuse

Origin of scurrilous

First recorded in 1570–80; scurrile + -ous

Related formsscur·ril·ous·ly, adverbscur·ril·ous·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scurrilous

British Dictionary definitions for scurrilous


/ (ˈskʌrɪləs) /


grossly or obscenely abusive or defamatory
characterized by gross or obscene humour
Derived Formsscurrility (skəˈrɪlɪtɪ) or scurrilousness, nounscurrilously, adverb

Word Origin for scurrilous

C16: from Latin scurrīlis derisive, from scurra buffoon

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 scurrilous



"using such language as only the licence of a buffoon can warrant" [Johnson], 1570s, from scurrile "coarsely joking" (c.1500, implied in scurrility), from Latin scurrilis "buffoonlike," from scurra "fashionable city idler, man-about-town," later "buffoon." According to Klein, "an Etruscan loan-word." Related: Scurrilously; scurrilousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper