c.1300, "land bordering a large body of water," perhaps from M.L.G. schor
"shore, coast, headland," or M.Du. scorre
"land washed by the sea," probably from P.Gmc. *skur-
"cut" and according to etymologists originally with a sense of "division" between land and water, and thus related to O.E. sceran
"shear, to cut" (see shear
). But if the word originated on the North Sea coast of the continent, it may as well have meant "land 'cut off' from the mainland by tidal marshes" (cf. O.N. skerg
"an isolated rock in the sea," related to sker
"to cut, shear"). Few I.E. languages have such a single comprehensive word for "land bordering water" (Gk. had one word for sandy beaches, another for rocky headlands). General application to "country near a seacoast" is attested from 1611.