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Scotch a rumour

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on June 19, 2010 at 23:24

In Reply to: Scotch a rumour posted by James Briggs on June 17, 2010 at 10:54:

: : What is the origin of the verb "to scotch" as in " to scotch a rumour"?

: Scotch: To Scotch a rumour is to expose a rumour. Scotch here has nothing to do with Scotland, but rather the old French word "escocher" - to cut.

It's ambiguous, though, because there's a line in Macbeth: "We have scotched [i.e. wounded] the snake, not killed it". Incidentally, the word "butterscotch" contains the same word - the sweetmeat was made out of sugar and butter and poured into a pan to set; before it set, it was "scotched" horizontally and vertically so that when it was cold it could be broken into squares along those lines. (VSD)