from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A disease caused by deficiency of vitamin C, characterized by spongy and bleeding gums, bleeding under the skin, and extreme weakness.
  • adjective Mean; contemptible.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A disease usually presenting swollen, spongy, easily bleeding gums, fibrinous effusion into some of the muscles, rendering them hard and brawny, hemorrhages beneath the skin, rheumatoid pains, anemia, and prostration.
  • Scurfy; covered or affected with scurf or scabs; scabby; diseased with scurvy; scorbutic.
  • Vile; mean; low; vulgar; worthless; contemptible; paltry; shabby: as, a scurvy fellow.
  • Offensive; mischievous; malicious.
  • noun The black mustard, Brassica nigra.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Covered or affected with scurf or scabs; scabby; scurfy; specifically, diseased with the scurvy.
  • adjective Vile; mean; low; vulgar; contemptible.
  • noun (Med.) A disease characterized by livid spots, especially about the thighs and legs, due to extravasation of blood, and by spongy gums, and bleeding from almost all the mucous membranes. It is accompanied by paleness, languor, depression, and general debility. It is occasioned by confinement, innutritious food, and hard labor, but especially by lack of fresh vegetable food, or confinement for a long time to a limited range of food, which is incapable of repairing the waste of the system. It was formerly prevalent among sailors and soldiers.
  • noun (Bot.) A kind of cress (Cochlearia officinalis) growing along the seacoast of Northern Europe and in arctic regions. It is a remedy for the scurvy, and has proved a valuable food to arctic explorers. The name is given also to other allied species of plants.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun pathology A disease caused by insufficient intake of vitamin C leading to the formation of livid spots on the skin, spongy gums, loosening of the teeth and bleeding into the skin and from almost all mucous membranes.
  • adjective Contemptible, despicable, low, disgustingly mean.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective of the most contemptible kind
  • noun a condition caused by deficiency of ascorbic acid (vitamin C)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From Middle English scurfy, characterized by scurf (influenced by French scorbut, scurvy), from scurf, scurf; see scurf.]


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  • On the earliest connection between vitamin C and scurvy, see usage note on Melchisedech Thevenot.

    December 28, 2016