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[skur-uh-luh s, skuhr-] /ˈskɜr ə ləs, ˈskʌr-/
grossly or obscenely abusive:
a scurrilous attack on the mayor.
characterized by or using low buffoonery; coarsely jocular or derisive:
a scurrilous jest.
Origin of scurrilous
1570-80; scurrile + -ous
Related forms
scurrilously, adverb
scurrilousness, noun
1. vituperative, insulting, offensive. 2. vulgar. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for scurrilous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A more common form was that of satire and scurrilous lampoon,—a favorite weapon with the early Reformers.

  • Well, of course you know, and I know, that they're scurrilous lies; but just how will you stop them?

  • Finally he made some scurrilous remark, and then another knife and fork came into play.

    Danger Signals John A. Hill and Jasper Ewing Brady
  • In Grundtvig, the taunting degenerates into a scurrilous tirade.

    The Translations of Beowulf Chauncey Brewster Tinker
  • Did you never see a man who thought he was witty, when he was only scurrilous and impudent?

    My Wife and I Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • This fellow writes in the most scurrilous newspapers; you have told me so yourself.

    A Doll's House Henrik Ibsen
British Dictionary definitions for scurrilous


grossly or obscenely abusive or defamatory
characterized by gross or obscene humour
Derived Forms
scurrility (skəˈrɪlɪtɪ), scurrilousness, noun
scurrilously, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin scurrīlis derisive, from scurra buffoon
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for scurrilous

"using such language as only the licence of a buffoon can warrant" [Johnson], 1570s, from scurrile "coarsely joking" (c.1500, implied in scurrility), from Latin scurrilis "buffoonlike," from scurra "fashionable city idler, man-about-town," later "buffoon." According to Klein, "an Etruscan loan-word." Related: Scurrilously; scurrilousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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