Alternative formsEdit


  • From skeleton, describing the often skeletal appearance of drug users.
  • Alternatively, from skellum or skelder ("to beg in the streets"). Used by Ben Jonson, 1599.


skell ‎(plural skells)

  1. (slang, US, New York) a homeless person, especially one who sleeps in the New York subway.
    Did you see those two skells lying in the doorway?
  2. (slang, US, New York) (informal police jargon) A male suspicious person or crime suspect, especially a street person such as a drug dealer, pimp or panhandler. (Compare scumbag.) Popularized on the American TV police drama NYPD Blue.



skell ‎(third-person singular simple present skells, present participle skelling, simple past and past participle skelled)

  1. (slang) To fall off or fall over
    She went skelling over on the ice.


  • The City in Slang, New York Life and Popular Speech, by Irving Lewis Allen, 1993.[1]
  • Dictionary of American Regional English, by Joan Houston Hall, 2002[2]
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