- Pathology. a disease marked by swollen and bleeding gums, livid spots on the skin, prostration, etc., due to a diet lacking in vitamin C.
- contemptible; despicable; mean: a scurvy trick.
Origin of scurvy
Examples from the Web for scurvy
In the 18th century, German immigrants coming to Pennsylvania boarded ships plagued with typhus, dysentery, smallpox, and scurvy.At Least Two ‘Border Kids’ Have Swine Flu
Ruben Navarrette Jr.
July 2, 2014
That's a scurvy welcome to give a nephew you haven't seen for eighteen years.Brave and Bold
But what are you to do when the boys clear out, and—and play you such a scurvy trick?The Law-Breakers
Salt meat is not so easily digested as fresh provisions, and has a tendency to produce putrid diseases, especially the scurvy.
Isn't there danger of scurvy if we have nothing but salt pork to eat?The Gaunt Gray Wolf
I asked shocked, “who would think of such a scurvy trick, sir?”Chance
- a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C, characterized by anaemia, spongy gums, bleeding beneath the skin, and (in infants) malformation of bones and teethRelated adjective: scorbutic
- mean or despicablea scurvy knave
Word Origin and History for scurvy
1560s, noun use of adjective scurvy "covered with scabs, diseased, scorbutic" (early 15c.), variant of scurfy. It took on the narrower meaning of Dutch scheurbuik, French scorbut "scurvy," in reference to the disease characterized by swollen and bleeding gums, prostration, etc., perhaps from Old Norse skyrbjugr, which is perhaps literally "a swelling (bjugr) from drinking sour milk (skyr) on long sea voyages;" but OED has alternative etymology of Middle Dutch or Middle Low German origin, as "disease that lacerates the belly," from schoren "to lacerate" + Middle Low German buk, Dutch buik "belly."
- A disease caused by deficiency of vitamin C and characterized by spongy bleeding gums, bleeding under the skin, and weakness.
- A disease caused by vitamin C deficiency, characterized by bleeding of the gums, rupture of capillaries under the skin, loose teeth, and generalized weakness.