\ ˈskəm How to pronounce scum (audio) \

Definition of scum

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : extraneous matter or impurities risen to or formed on the surface of a liquid often as a foul filmy covering — compare pond scum sense 2
b : the scoria of metals in a molten state : dross
c : a slimy film on a solid or gelatinous object
2a : refuse
b : a low, vile, or worthless person or group of people


scummed; scumming

Definition of scum (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to become covered with or as if with scum

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Other Words from scum


scummy \ ˈskə-​mē How to pronounce scum (audio) \ adjective

Examples of scum in a Sentence

Noun Boil the chicken and use a spoon to remove any scum that floats to the surface. claimed that only scum lived in that part of town
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Tackle even the toughest soap scum with these smart cleaning tips for shower curtains and liners. Alicia Chilton, Better Homes & Gardens, 7 July 2021 Turkey has deployed tanker trucks with suction hoses to vacuum up the surface scum, a method that has also been used to clean up toxic algae from Florida waterways, per the Washington Post. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 June 2021 That's because dish soap used to be filled with phosphates, which helped soften hard water and prevent soap scum. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, 15 June 2021 This will get rid of soap scum, limescale, calcium, and rust. Chris Hachey, BGR, 8 June 2021 This vinegar-water mixture is non-toxic, plus the acidity of the vinegar easily cuts through lime deposits and soap scum. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 13 May 2021 There are the portrayals of collaborators with the Japanese as inhuman scum and glorification of the Communist Party (both Russian and Chinese versions). Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, 29 Apr. 2021 Use a non-ammoniated bath cleaner to remove soap scum. Norman Becker, Popular Mechanics, 21 Apr. 2021 Afterward, spray the surface with a no-rinse shower cleaner to attack any lingering soap scum. Tamara Gane, Southern Living, 15 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Lieberman is the scummiest scumbag who ever scummed. Jim Newell, Slate Magazine, 18 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of scum


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1661, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for scum


Middle English, from Middle Dutch schum; akin to Old High German scūm foam

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Time Traveler for scum

Time Traveler

The first known use of scum was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

12 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for scum



English Language Learners Definition of scum

: a layer of something unpleasant or unwanted that forms on top of a liquid
informal : a dishonest, unkind, or unpleasant person


\ ˈskəm How to pronounce scum (audio) \

Kids Definition of scum

1 : a film of matter that rises to the top of a boiling or fermenting liquid
2 : a coating (as of algae) on the surface of still water
3 : a loathsome person

More from Merriam-Webster on scum

Nglish: Translation of scum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scum for Arabic Speakers


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