A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)
Scum, v. Also: skum, skwm. [ME and e.m.E. skume(n (1398), scom (c1420). Cf. OHG scûmen, MLG, MDu. schûmen, also OF escumer.] To skim, in various senses.
1. tr. Of a bird: To skim; to fly above (a surface), keeping as close to it as possible without touching it.
Lyke till a fowle that … Fleys by the watyr, skummand the fludis law; Doug. iv v 149.
The swallow … Apon hir weyngis scummand [Ruddim. skimmand] euery syde Thir heich hallys; Doug. xii viii 73.
2. intr., with locative compl.: To fly, or sail, swiftly, with apparent absence of effort.
Lyke as quhen that the gredy gled on hycht Scummand vp in the ayr oft turnys hys flycht; Doug. xiii ii 120.
Whill she [sc. Phoenix] vsde to scum the skyes about; James VI Poems I 46/64.
Sum Rare stranger foule, which oft had vsde to scum Through diuers lands; James VI Poems I 46/82.
[With Satan] he wes skumand owre all the see without land, in ane boit; 1590 Crim. Trials I ii 211.
3. tr. To scum (milk or other liquid) (clene), to skim milk; to remove cream, floating matter, etc., from the surface of milk by skimming it with some utensil (see Scummar n. 1). Also, to scum … off.
Also, with the churn as object.
Scho kyrnd the kyrne & skwmd it clene; Wyf Awcht. 35.
Cheese made when the milk is new and not skum'd; Donaldson Husbandry 89.
The oyl by force of the fire … is drawn from the liver, which so being separated, and sweeming above, they take or scum it off, and puts in vessels for the use; Brand Orkney & Shetl. 130.
4. Of a golfer: To skim the ground with the head of his golf club when hitting the ball.
You most aim directly to hit the ball it selfe and not aim to scum the ground; 1687 Bk. Old Edinb. C. XXVII 133.
5. To consider (a proposal) quickly and superficially.
Qvhan all vther schyftis that micht mak … money had bene scummit & socht [etc.]; Declar. Causis 26.
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"Scum v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jan 2022 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/scum_v>
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