Time to play B-sides (imifumei) wrote in 1word1day,
Time to play B-sides


scoth Irish. (Rhymes with 'moth')

Actually, I must admit I am a bit confused by this word, so I am not so much informing as asking your collective opinion.

It's been commonly used among my family (who are of Irish descent) as a noun to mean 'a small piece of a greater whole that has been removed from the whole' in the same way as you might say bunch, shard, splinter, or chunk. Let me give a few examples.

"Cut me a scoth of those daisies from the front yard, would you?"

"I was hammering the nail in and a scoth of wood came up and hit me in the eye." (You should have been wearing protective goggles.)

"Tear off a scoth of that old towel to use as a dust rag."

So, basically a piece that has been removed from a bigger thing. But I recently realized that I had no clue of the etymology, so when I looked it up, I found two things. First, the Wiktionary.com entry which really didn't seem to agree with the usage with which I was familiar at all. Second, the Dictionary.com which, not only didn't agree, but even stated a different part of speech!

Wiktionary says:

1. flower
2. pick, choice
3. tuft, bunch
4. arrangement, style

I admit, it's not entirely off from what I know, but not exactly the same, either.

Dictionary.com says:

transitive. To clothe or cover up.

So, at this point, I am a bit stumped. Do I go with the way we've always used it as a valid definition or do I accept that it is simply a colloquialism specific to my family and say we've been using the word incorrectly all this time. Has anyone else ever heard it?
Tags: irish, n, s, wordsmith: imifumei

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