Printable Version
Pronunciation: Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. (Intransitive) Scrape together little by little, stint, supply meagerly. 2. (Transitive) Use sparingly, stingily, thriftily.

Notes: In Scotland you may use this word as an adjective in the sense of "scant, meager" and as a noun meaning "something inadequately small". Those of us unashamed of adding a Latin suffix to a Germanic word may say scrimption "smidgen, pittance" in the US. Anyone can say scrimpy "meager, scanty" anywhere.

In Play: Today's word is heard most often in the phrase 'scrimp and save': "We could scrimp and save for three girls coming out but I don't know where the wherewithal for the fourth girl will come from." Otherwise, it may be used like any other verb: "I wouldn't like to be seen scrimping on champagne at any of their coming-out parties."

Word History: Today's Good Word was a gift of the Vikings to repay for all the damage they did to Scotland for the 200 years of raids the carried out on the Scottish coastal regions. It was some ancestor of Swedish skrumpa "to shrink, shrivel", Danish skrumpen "shrunken, shriveled", and Norwegian dialectal skramp "skinny creature". These words share a source with German schrumpfen "to shrink" and, come to think of it, English shrink and scrub. All these words seem to be the ultimate results of PIE (s)kerb-/(s)korb- "shrivel, shrink", source also of Icelandic skrepp "shrink", Latvian skrāpēt "a scratch", and Russian skorbet' "to mourn".

Dr. Goodword,

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