One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A splinter or sliver of wood.
sliver, shiver, chip, shard, needleView synonyms
- ‘Just the other night I grew dizzy at the sight of a skelf in my husband's foot.’
- ‘Megan, you were just a skelf of a girl - not an ounce of fat.’
- ‘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.
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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