Posted by Gary on October 14, 2002
In Reply to: Skulduggery posted by ESC on October 14, 2002
: I used the word "skullduggery" in an e-mail this morning. I couldn't find it in a dictionary but Word spell-check gave the OK on two Ls. Then I was paging through a library book I got at noon -- "Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States" by Bill Bryson - and happened on the word. Not only did I misspell it, it appears I misused it too. I hate when that happens.
: Mr. Bryson says "skulduggery" has one L because it comes from the Scottish "sculdudrie," a word denoting fornication. (! ! ! !) Which isn't what I meant at all. I meant plotting and intrigue. Now I'm wondering what the recipient of my e-mail is thinking about what goes on in my office.
The OED has it as - "underhand dealing, roguish intrigue or machination, trickery" and claims a US origin. It gives several forms of the spelling, so I guess you are on safe ground there. OED even have it as a verb - to skuldug, and quote William Faulkner using it in 1936.