One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A splinter or sliver of wood.
sliver, shiver, chip, shard, needleView synonyms
- ‘Megan, you were just a skelf of a girl - not an ounce of fat.’
- ‘Just the other night I grew dizzy at the sight of a skelf in my husband's foot.’
- ‘The skelf injury is the result of hours spent working in his garden and he wears it like a trophy.’
2informal A troublesome or annoying person.nuisance, bother, annoyance, irritation, irritant, thorn in one's flesh, thorn in one's side, vexation, trial, the bane of one's life, menace, curse, problem, trouble, worry, inconvenience, bore, gadflyView synonyms
Late Middle English (in the sense ‘shelf’): probably from Middle Low German schelf; compare with shelf. skelf (sense 1) dates from the early 17th century.
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