Word Origin & History
1580s, "discredit caused by irreligious conduct," from M.Fr. scandale, from L.L. scandalum "cause for offense, stumbling block, temptation," from Gk. skandalon "a trap or snare laid for an enemy," in N.T., metaphorically as "a stumbling block, offense;" originally "trap with a springing device," from
PIE *skand- "jump" (cf. Gk. skandalizein "to make to stumble, give offense to" someone; see scan
; cf. also slander
). Attested from early 13c., but the modern word is a reborrowing. Meaning "malicious gossip" is from 1590s; sense of "person whose conduct is a disgrace" is from 1630s. Scandalize (late 15c.) originally meant "make a public scandal of;" sense of "shock by doing something improper" first recorded 1640s. Scandal sheet "sensational newspaper" is from 1939.