Definition of scurf in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /skəːf/


[mass noun]
1Flakes on the surface of the skin that form as fresh skin develops below, occurring especially as dandruff.
Example sentences
  • If your horse has a lot of winter scurf, you may want to give him a bath prior to clipping (its amazing how much easier the clipper blades go through clean hair).
  • I can only think that fungus is involved somewhere along the line, perhaps an accumulation of dead cells / scurf / mould in the area under the dewlap so often overlooked in the shower.
  • He spends most of that time at the creek, ‘washing off the plantation scurf.’
1.1A flaky deposit on a plant resulting from a fungal infection.
Example sentences
  • One of these is Rhizoctonia, the fungus which causes stem canker and black scurf.



Pronunciation: /ˈskəːfi/
Example sentences
  • Clueless old men in the government, scratching their scurfy scalps, going, ‘Huh-yup, dat's what dem foreigner's'll like’.
  • It's a concept with which both Meg and Howard would be well at home and would send a clear message to the scurfy down-market low-income brigade and their fellow-travellers.
  • The child stared into the dry dish where his water once overflowed, and his stone flesh turned scurfy and cracked with dried algae like the sear and yellow skin of an old man.


Late Old English sceorf, from the base of sceorfan 'gnaw', sceorfian 'cut to shreds'.

  • scruff from early 16th century:

    As an insult for a person with a dirty or untidy appearance, scruff is an alteration of scurf (Old English), meaning dandruff or a similar skin condition, which comes from the same root as Old English words meaning ‘to gnaw’ and ‘to shred’. The reversal of letters from scurf to scruff is also seen in bird and dirt, originally brid and drit. The scruff of the neck was originally the scuff—the word is recorded from the late 18th century, but its origin is obscure.

Words that rhyme with scurf

serf, surf, turf

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: scurf

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.