1 of 2

verb (1)

skives; skived; skiving

transitive + intransitive

British, informal
: to avoid work or school by staying away or by leaving without permission
… 71 per cent said rewards for good ideas and punctuality would make them work harder and not skiveSouth Wales Evening Post
Tam is 15 and he's skiving school.Julie Mccaffrey
often used with off
I once worked in a hospital garden where my workmate skived off every day with "backache" and disappeared to work on his car at home.Louis De Bernières


2 of 2

verb (2)

skived; skiving

transitive verb

: to cut off (a material, such as leather or rubber) in thin layers or pieces : pare

Examples of skive in a Sentence

Verb (1) He works for his mother and feels he can skive off whenever he feels like it. She skived off school twice last month.

Word History


Verb (1)

probably borrowed from French esquiver "to dodge, sidestep, evade," in part borrowed from Spanish esquivar, derivative of esquivo "unsociable, shy" (earlier also "sinister, evil"), perhaps borrowed from Gothic *skiuh-, going back to Germanic *skeuh-a-; in part borrowed from Italian schivare "to avoid, shun," borrowed from Old French eschuir, eschiver — more at shy entry 1, eschew

Verb (2)

perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skīfa to slice

First Known Use

Verb (1)

1895, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

circa 1825, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of skive was circa 1825

Dictionary Entries Near skive

Cite this Entry

“Skive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on skive

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