One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Steal (fruit) from an orchard or garden.‘I remember Gordon scrumping apples from the orchard next door’no object ‘they used to go out scrumping and thieving’
purloin, thieve, take, take for oneself, help oneself to, loot, pilfer, abscond with, run off with, appropriate, abstract, carry off, shopliftView synonyms
- ‘I would welcome back the past, where scrumping apples would earn you a clout around the ear.’
- ‘I know I am old but I always say that when I was young if you did wrong you knew that if you went scrumping apples or whatever there would be a bobby on the beat somewhere around.’
- ‘So I'm afraid we did go scrumping and it looks as if they've been there again.’
- ‘Aah, those cheeky McFly scamps; we hear that when they're not performing their pop-punk tunes, they're busy scrumping apples from the local farmer's orchard.’
- ‘As a child, scrumping apples was my biggest crime.’
- ‘Mr Kipling caught two young scamps scrumping in his orchard.’
- ‘But those were the days when a bobby was a respected, perhaps even feared, guardian of society, who would give you a clout round the head if he copped you scrumping.’
- ‘As a tomboy youngster, it was one of my great regrets that I could not manage to generate a piercing rallying call to assemble my pals for a spot of light tree-climbing or scrumping.’
- ‘We were concerned how the local constabulary would cope with such a situation, being the sort of remote place the biggest crime would be scrumping.’
- ‘If kids were bad before it was for scrumping apples or knocking on doors and running away.’
- ‘But deep down I would love to see kids mooching round on bikes in groups, scrumping apples and being clipped round the ear'ole by paternalistic cops.’
- ‘I remember getting in trouble with a policeman for scrumping.’
- ‘Then someone much older than me whom I love dearly pointed out the folly of an apple tree in an urban garden: I'd be bothered non-stop by boys scrumping for apples.’
Mid 19th century: from dialect scrump ‘withered apple’.
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