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August 01, 2015

Word of the Day

  • skulduggery
  • audio pronunciation
  • \skull-DUG-uh-ree\
  • DEFINITION

noun

: underhanded or unscrupulous behavior; also : a devious device or trick

  • EXAMPLE

There was a whiff of skulduggery surrounding the real-estate deal, since the building managed to pass inspection even though everyone knew it wasn't up to code.

"Some House Democrats … cast a poor light on the idea of continued backroom negotiations. Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), the No. 4 Democratic leader, said the move to extend a possible revote until as late as July 30 was 'shady stuff' and 'underhanded' and held the potential for procedural skulduggery." — Paul Kane and Mike DiBonis, Washington Post, June 16, 2015

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Skulduggery, which can also be spelled skullduggery, was first documented in the mid-19th century with the spelling scull-duggery. Etymologists aren't sure exactly how the word arrived in English, but despite the macabre imagery conjured by the word's parts, they do not believe it had anything to do with skulls. It is possibly derived from the now-very-rare sculduddery, a term once used to refer to gross or lewd conduct, but unfortunately the origins of that word are also unknown.

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