One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Dress (fibrous material, especially retted flax) by beating it.
- ‘The damn retting, spreading, scutching and finally the sale of the finished product always gave cause for instant celebration.’
- ‘Our dinner topics that night included retting, scutching, and hackling.’
- ‘Noted will be the northerners' scutching of UCD last weekend.’
- ‘Finally the sheaves were beaten in a machine, in a process termed scutching.’
- ‘A workman takes a hank in his hand and throws it into an opening in the lining case surrounding the scutching drum.’
- ‘The account of breaking, scutching and hackling flax, for example, is the clearest and most informative short discussion that I have seen.’
Mid 18th century: from obsolete French escoucher, from Latin excutere ‘shake out’.
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