[skur-uh-luhs, skuhr-]


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

Origin of scurrilous

First recorded in 1570–80; scurrile + -ous
Related formsscur·ril·ous·ly, adverbscur·ril·ous·ness, noun

Synonyms for scurrilous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scurrilous

Contemporary Examples of scurrilous

  • Failing that, Abrams should issue a public apology to Hagel for making this scurrilous charge.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Elliott Abrams Owes Hagel An Apology

    Ali Gharib

    January 11, 2013

  • And this time there will be no internal committees of enquiry or scurrilous U.N. Goldstone commissions.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Living By The Sword

    Daniel Levy

    November 16, 2012

  • The White House counsel was done in by a scurrilous leaks campaign.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Assassination of Greg Craig

    Steve Clemons

    November 16, 2009

  • During its one year in office, the Zardari government has passed two measly but scurrilous bills.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Hillary, Go Home

    Fatima Bhutto

    October 28, 2009

Historical Examples of scurrilous

  • Well, of course you know, and I know, that they're scurrilous lies; but just how will you stop them?

  • I stood aghast at this scurrilous address, the like of which I had never yet heard.

    Athelstane Ford

    Allen Upward

  • Your uncle, who heard about it at the club, says it is scurrilous.

    Lalage's Lovers

    George A. Birmingham

  • His paper was not wholly the sort of scurrilous organ it has been shown to be.

    Pickwickian Studies

    Percy Fitzgerald

  • In Grundtvig, the taunting degenerates into a scurrilous tirade.

    The Translations of Beowulf

    Chauncey Brewster Tinker

British Dictionary definitions for scurrilous



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