• scrooch •
Pronunciation: skruch • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive
Meaning: (US Colloquial) To bend down, crouch, or duck (scrooch down).
Notes: Today's Good Word is purely English, hence its family is purely English. However, it is considered colloquial, that is, conversational, and not a word you would use in a formal document or in a high-paying job interview. Be careful not to confuse this word with the similar US colloquialism, scooch, without the R, as to scooch over a little bit and give me more room on the couch. They don't mean the same thing. If your coconversationalists are very forgiving, you may take the plunge and use the adjective from today's word, scroochy, as a scroochy person who slouches all the time.
In Play: It is difficult to use today's Good Word without the adverb down: "If you aren't wearing a helmet, I would suggest you scrooch down when we go down to the cellar: the ceiling there is rather low." You would be surprised how many situations present themselves where today's word works well: "Boy, would I love to scrooch down over a bowl of hot buttered grits this morning!"
Word History: This Good Word has an unusual origin: it was created by a series of repeated slips of the ear. It began its life somewhere around the turn of the seventeenth century as scruze "to twist and squeeze", a blend of the two verbs screw and squeeze. By the middle of the 18th century, it was being mispronounced as scrouge, and its meaning had changed to "squeeze up against someone" or "bow down toward someone shorter". A century later it had become today's Good Word, retaining only the second meaning. (Before I stop scrooching over my keyboard and go to lunch, let me thank Paul Rowland of Wallasey, England, for suggesting today's Good Word, no doubt from disbelief that we Yanks actually use it.)