What does scum mean?

Definitions for scum

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word scum.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. trash, scumnoun

    worthless people

  2. scumverb

    a film of impurities or vegetation that can form on the surface of a liquid

  3. scumverb

    remove the scum from


  1. scumnoun

    A layer of impurities that accumulates at the surface of a liquid (especially molten metal or water).

  2. scumnoun

    A greenish water vegetation (such as algae), usually found floating on the surface of ponds

  3. scumnoun

    The topmost liquid layer of a cesspool or septic tank.

  4. scumnoun

    A reprehensible person or persons.

  5. scumverb

    To remove the layer of scum from (a liquid etc.).

  6. scumverb

    To remove (something) as scum.

  7. scumverb

    To scour (the land, sea etc.).

  8. Etymology: From scum, scom, from * or schume, both from skūmaz, from skeu-. Cognate with schuim, Schaum, and skum. Compare also écume, schiuma from the same Germanic source. Related to skim.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Scumnoun

    Etymology: escume, French; schiuma, Italian; skum, Danish; schuym, Dutch.

    The rest had several offices assign’d;
    Some to remove the scum as it did rise;
    Others to bear the same away did mind;
    And others it to use according to his kind. Fairy Queen.

    The salt part of the water doth partly rise into a scum on the top, and partly goeth into a sediment in the bottom. Francis Bacon.

    Gather’d like scum, and settl’d to itself,
    Self-fed and self-consum’d. John Milton.

    Away, ye scum,
    That still rise upmost when the nation boils. Dryden.

    They mix a med’cine to foment their limbs,
    With scum that on the molten silver swims. Dryden.

    There flocked unto him all the scum of the Irish out of all places, that e’re long he had a mighty army. Edmund Spenser.

    Some forty gentlemen excepted, had we the very scum of the world, such as their friends thought it an exceeding good gain to be discharged. Walter Raleigh, Essays.

    I told thee what would come
    Of all thy vapouring, base scum. Hudibras.

    The Scythian and Egyptian scum
    Had almost ruin’d Rome. Wentworth Dillon.

    You’ll find, in these hereditary tales,
    Your ancestors the scum of broken jayls. John Dryden, Juven.

    The great and innocent are insulted by the scum and refuse of the people. Joseph Addison, Freeholder.

  2. To Scumverb

    To clear off the scum. Commonly written and spoken skim.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    A second multitude
    Severing each kind, and scum’d the bullion dross. John Milton.

    Hear, ye sullen powers below;
    Hear, ye taskers of the dead:
    You that boiling cauldrons blow,
    You that scum the molten lead. John Dryden, Oedipus.

    What corns swim upon the top of the brine, scum off. John Mortimer.


  1. Scum

    Scum is a song by Meat Puppets, released as the first promotional single from the No Joke! record. It only holds the title song. A video was filmed for this song, directed by Dave Markey.


  1. scum

    Scum generally refers to a layer of dirt or froth on the surface of a liquid. It can also refer to a worthless or contemptible person or group of people. In the context of industrial usage, it could mean a filmy layer of extraneous matter that has risen to or been formed on the surface of a liquid often as a foul or undesirable byproduct.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Scum

    the extraneous matter or impurities which rise to the surface of liquids in boiling or fermentation, or which form on the surface by other means; also, the scoria of metals in a molten state; dross

  2. Scum

    refuse; recrement; anything vile or worthless

  3. Scumverb

    to take the scum from; to clear off the impure matter from the surface of; to skim

  4. Scumverb

    to sweep or range over the surface of

  5. Scumverb

    to form a scum; to become covered with scum. Also used figuratively

  6. Etymology: [Of Scand. origin; cf. Dan. & Sw. skum, Icel. skm, LG. schum, D. schuim, OHG. scm, G. schaum; probably from a root meaning, to cover. 158. Cf. Hide skin, Meerschaum, Skim, v., Sky.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Scum

    skum, n. foam or froth: the extraneous matter rising to the surface of liquids, esp. when boiled or fermented: refuse: offscourings, dregs.—v.t. to take the scum from: to skim:—pr.p. scum′ming; pa.t. and pa.p. scummed.—n. Scum′mer, an implement used in skimming.—n.pl. Scum′mings, skimmings.—adj. Scum′my, covered with scum. [Scand., Dan. skum, froth; Ger. schaum, foam.]

Suggested Resources

  1. SCUM

    What does SCUM stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the SCUM acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

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How to pronounce scum?

How to say scum in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of scum in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of scum in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of scum in a Sentence

  1. John Henry Browne:

    People wonder why you could represent the scum of the earth, but people don’t understand that if it wasn’t for us, we really wouldn’t have a free society…But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Someone asked me if I came back in another lifetime, would I want to do it again. My answer was no. I would love somebody else to do what I do… But I wouldn’t want it to be me. I’ve paid my dues.

  2. George Lucas:

    Mos Eisley spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.

  3. Naked Gun From the Files of Police Squad:

    Frank Wilma, I promise you whatever scum did this, not one man on this force will rest one minute before until he's behind bars. Now, let's grab a bite to eat.

  4. Peter Kropotkin:

    America is just the country that shows how all the written guarantees in the world for freedom are no protection against tyranny and oppression of the worst kind. There the politician has come to be looked upon as the very scum of society.

  5. Godfather, The:

    Don Corleone What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully If you'd come to me in friendship, then this scum that ruined your daughter would be suffering this very day. And if by chance an honest man like yourself should make enemies, then they would become my enemies. And then they would fear you.

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Translations for scum

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • AbschaumGerman
  • απόβλητο, απόβρασμα, κάθαρμαGreek
  • escoria, canallaSpanish
  • pohjasakka, roskaväki, leväpuuro, pintaliete, kuonaFinnish
  • skúmFaroese
  • couche, racaille, ordure, mousse, écume, crasse, salaudFrench
  • scoriaItalian
  • あきますJapanese
  • tuigDutch
  • escóriaPortuguese
  • накипь, сброд, нечисть, отребье, шушера, подлец, сволочь, нечистоты, шантропа, негодяй, отродье, пена, швальRussian
  • తెట్టుTelugu
  • cặn bãVietnamese
  • schomeWalloon

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"scum." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 30 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/scum>.

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    like a pulp or overripe; not having stiffness
    A greedy
    B brilliant
    C blistering
    D squashy

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