"short, erect tail" (of a rabbit, hare, deer, etc.), 1520s; earlier "a hare" (mid-15c.), perhaps from Old Norse skjota "to shoot (with a weapon), launch, push, shove quickly" (cf. Norwegian skudda "to shove, push"), from PIE *skeud- "to shoot, chase, throw" (see shoot (v.).
term of contempt for a person, 1873, of unknown origin.
[the 1500s slang use, ''vulva, cunt,'' and the standard use ''tail of a hare or deer,'' suggest a core sense ''tail, buttocks, ass,'' reinforced by British dialect skut, ''crouch down,'' and perhaps related to Old Norse skutr, ''stern of a ship''; scut meant ''little boy,'' perhaps fr Scots scudler, ''scullion, kitchen boy,'' among Scotch-Irish settlers in Pennsylvania]