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From Old English sceorf, from Proto-Germanic *skurf (to gnaw), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ker- (to cut). Cf German Schorf, Danish skurv, Swedish skorv.



scurf (countable and uncountable, plural scurfs)

  1. A skin disease.
  2. The flakes of skin that fall off as a result of a skin disease.
  3. Any crust-like formations on the skin, or in general.
    • Milton
      There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top / Belched fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire / Shone with a glossy scurf.
  4. (figuratively) The foul remains of anything adherent.
    • Dryden
      The scurf is worn away of each committed crime.
  5. (botany) Minute membranous scales on the surface of some leaves, as in the goosefoot.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Gray to this entry?)