Scottish words: skelf

Skelf is the Scottish word for a splinter of wood, usually stuck in your finger but I suppose it could be anywhere on your body. I have noticed that this word is not used nearly as often as it used to be and people tend to be using splinter – which drives me nuts. Use it or lose it.

I was watching a T.V. programme about language a few years back and it mentioned that words beginning with ‘sk’ nearly always derive from Scandinavian words originally. So I suppose we have the Vikings to thank for this one.

It makes sense to me as my own surname begins with sk and although you won’t usually find my name in a list of Scottish surnames, it does appear in a list of ancient Scottish surnames deriving from Scandinavia.

2 thoughts on “Scottish words: skelf

  1. I think spail was another word for a skelf. I’m sure we used that in Edinburgh – it’s ok, Ma was from Glasgow – but I’d use skelf now! Of course we also use the expression “built like a skelf” for someone very thin!

    • Evee,
      I haven’t heard ‘spail’ it. I’m getting used to Edinburgh but it’s amazing how different the culture is from Glasgow and not often in a good way! Yes – built like a skelf – not so many people like that around now!

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