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card game, 1864, from German Skat (by 1838), from earlier scart (said to have been a term used in the old card game called taroc, which was of Italian origin), from Italian scarto "cards laid aside," which is said to be a back-formation from scartare, from Latin ex- "off, away" + Late Latin carta (see card (n.1)). The German game is perhaps so called because it is played with a rump deck, or because two cards are laid aside at the start of the game, or because discarding is an important part of the game. Cf. French card game écarté, literally "cards removed."
cardcard game for three players, but usually four participate, with each player sitting out a turn as dealer. It is Germany's national card game. It originated in Altenburg, near Leipzig, about 1817 and is played wherever Germans have settled; the International Skat Players Association (ISPA) has affiliates in more than a dozen countries. North American skat, centred on Milwaukee, Wis., and Texas skat, centred on Austin, Texas, differ somewhat from the German and international game described below. The current rules, followed by both the ISPA and the German Skat Federation, date from Jan. 1, 1999.