[ skur-vee ]
/ ˈskɜr vi /


Pathology. a disease marked by swollen and bleeding gums, livid spots on the skin, prostration, etc., due to a diet lacking in vitamin C.

adjective, scur·vi·er, scur·vi·est.

contemptible; despicable; mean: a scurvy trick.

Nearby words

  1. scurrile,
  2. scurrility,
  3. scurrilous,
  4. scurrilously,
  5. scurry,
  6. scurvy grass,
  7. scuse,
  8. scut,
  9. scuta,
  10. scutage

Origin of scurvy

First recorded in 1555–65; scurf + -y1

Related formsscur·vi·ly, adverbscur·vi·ness, noun

Can be confusedscurfy scurvy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scurvy

British Dictionary definitions for scurvy


/ (ˈskɜːvɪ) /


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

adjective -vier or -viest

mean or despicablea scurvy knave
Derived Formsscurvily, adverbscurviness, noun

Word Origin for scurvy

C16: see scurf

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 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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for scurvy


[ skûrvē ]


A disease caused by deficiency of vitamin C and characterized by spongy bleeding gums, bleeding under the skin, and weakness.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for scurvy


[ skûrvē ]

A disease caused by vitamin C deficiency, characterized by bleeding of the gums, rupture of capillaries under the skin, loose teeth, and generalized weakness.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.