/ (ˈskɛləm) /


Southern African informal a villain or crook

Word Origin for skelm

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

Examples from the Web for skelm

  • Oom Leeuw crept up slowly, quietly, like a skelm, behind Brother Bullfrog.

    Outa Karel's Stories|Sanni Metelerkamp

Word Origin and History for skelm



also skellum, "a rascal, scamp, scoundrel," 1610s, from Dutch schelm, from German schelm "rascal, devil, pestilence, etc.," from Old High German scelmo. Used by Dryden, but "Now arch. (except in S.Africa)" [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper