• scour •
skæ-wêr • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: 1. Clean thoroughly by scrubbing. 2. To conduct a thorough search for something.
Notes: Today we give you two words for the price of one. These two words are coincidentally spelled and pronounced the same. These verbs each produce two nouns, a personal noun, scourer, and an action noun, scourage.
In Play: The first of today's Good Words is used in expressions like this: "Margo spent the entire day scouring every floor in the house." I picture Margo on her hands and knees scouring floors with a brush. The second Good Word we use in expressions like this: "Fred scoured the entire house for his car keys."
Word History: The first of our two words today comes from Middle Dutch scuren, "to polish, to clean" or from Old French ecurer. Both these words come from Late Latin excurare "take good care of, attend to", based on Latin ex "out" + curare "take care of". French converted curare to curer, whereupon English borrowed it for its cure. How Latin got a hold of the original is anyone's guess. The second Good Word comes from Old Norse skyra "rush in", related to skur "storm, shower" and English shower (Old Englist scur). Perhaps this word was influenced by Old French escorre "to run out", from Latin excurrere, comprising ex "out" + currere "run", also the origin of English current, corridor, car, and cart. The Latin word for a two-wheel cart was carpentum. A carpentarius was someone who built them. English got its carpenter from the Anglo-Norman version of this word.
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