Definition of scum in English:

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Pronunciation: /skʌm/


[mass noun]
1A layer of dirt or froth on the surface of a liquid: green scum found on stagnant pools
More example sentences
  • A problem may occur when the solids content rises in a lagoon, resulting in the accumulation of solids or scum above the surface.
  • The Sea is heaven's own blue like a diamond more lovely in a king's diadem than in the mines of the Indes but as it gushes up through the broken ice-like salt, it is black, full of asphalte scum - and in the hand slimy, and smarting as a sting.
  • There, waste components naturally separate, with heavier solids settling to the bottom forming sludge, and lighter solids floating to the top forming scum.
film, layer, covering, froth, foam, suds, dross, dirt
1.1 informal A worthless or contemptible person or group of people: you drug dealers are the scum of the earth
More example sentences
  • And then he replied, ‘You're nothing but Eastern scum and a capitalist rip-off son-of-a-bitch.'
  • Danielle ‘Danny’ Sofer is conflicted, trying to maintain her femininity while beating down street scum on a daily basis.
  • I have no doubt that this was the intent of the film-makers: that we ultimately find Ben shallow, and the crew who becomes enthralled with such scum is pitiful.
despicable person/people, rabble, riff-raff, refuse, garbage, trash, vermin, good-for-nothing(s), undesirable(s), the lowest of the low, the dregs of society;
British  trog(s)
informal dirt, dirty dog(s), rat(s), louse(s), toad(s), worm(s), scumbag(s), crud(s), cur(s), no-good(s)
North American informal pond scum, scuzzball(s), sleazeball(s)
archaic dastard(s)

verb (scums, scumming, scummed)

[with object]
1Form a layer of dirt or froth on (a liquid): litter scummed the surface of the water
More example sentences
  • The dregs of his dunked biscuits scummed the surface of the tea.
1.1 [no object] (Of a liquid) become covered with a layer of dirt or froth: the lagoon scummed over
More example sentences
  • Also, application of clear waterproofing materials may lock in moisture and crystalline growth, causing more scumming and possible spalling of brick.



Pronunciation: /ˈskʌmi/
adjective (scummier, scummiest)
Example sentences
  • Sure they're scummy, but compared to the stagnant ponds that make up Upper Hutt ‘City’, they are Mediterranean.
  • The boy next to her (Mike, I assumed) wore a scummy baseball cap turned backwards.
  • They relocated to a scummy flat in South London where there would be no distractions.


Middle English: from Middle Low German, Middle Dutch schūm, of Germanic origin.

Words that rhyme with scum

become, benumb, Brum, bum, chum, crumb, drum, glum, gum, ho-hum, hum, Kara Kum, lum, mum, numb, plum, plumb, Rhum, rhumb, rum, scrum, slum, some, strum, stum, succumb, sum, swum, thrum, thumb, tum, yum-yum

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: scum

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