Pronunciation Noun


  1. An incrustation over a sore, wound, vesicle, or pustule, formed during healing.
  2. (colloquial or obsolete) The scabies.
  3. The mange, especially when it appears on sheep.
    • 1882, James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, Volume 4, p. 306,
      Scab was the terror of the sheep farmer, and the peril of his calling.
  4. (uncountable) Any of several different diseases of potatoes producing pits and other damage on their surface, caused by streptomyces bacteria (but formerly believed to be caused by a fungus).
  5. Common scab, a relatively harmless variety of scab (potato disease) caused by Streptomyces scabies.
  6. (plant disease) Any one of various more or less destructive fungal diseases that attack cultivated plants, forming dark-colored crustlike spots.
  7. (founding) A slight irregular protuberance which defaces the surface of a casting, caused by the breaking away of a part of the mold.
  8. A mean, dirty, paltry fellow.
  9. (derogatory, slang) A worker who acts against trade union policies, especially a strikebreaker.
    • c. 1910s, Jack London (attributed), The Scab:
      When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out.
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations
  • Italian: rogna
  • Russian: парша́
Translations Translations
  • Italian: rogna
  • Russian: парша́
Translations Translations Verb

scab (scabs, present participle scabbing; past scabbed, past participle scabbed)

  1. (intransitive) To become covered by a scab or scabs.
  2. (intransitive) To form into scabs and be shed, as damaged or diseased skin.
    • 1734, Royal Society of London, The Philosophical Transactions (1719 - 1733) Abridged, Volume 7, [|scabbing+off|from%22+-intitle:%22%22+-inauthor:%22%22&source=bl&ots=rfp867GOSb&sig=PIQ7DioGdAzIkZqDxVX1yugqphE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=veYwUKuvGOeWiQfvx4HQBA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22scabbed|scabbing%20off|from%22%20-intitle%3A%22%22%20-inauthor%3A%22%22&f=false page 631],
      Thoſe Puſtules aroſe, maturated, and ſcabbed off, intirely like the true Pox.
    • 2009, Linda Wisdom, Wicked By Any Other Name, [|scabbing+off|from%22+-intitle:%22%22+-inauthor:%22%22&source=bl&ots=363tQEyJiY&sig=xsQzufUSn-dejMLE2GtTaKbDT8E&hl=en&sa=X&ei=veYwUKuvGOeWiQfvx4HQBA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22scabbed|scabbing%20off|from%22%20-intitle%3A%22%22%20-inauthor%3A%22%22&f=false page 233],
      Trev walked over and leaned down, dropping a tender kiss on her forehead where the skin was raw and scabbing from the cut.
    • 2009, Nancy Lord, Rock, Water, Wild: An Alaskan Life, [|scabbing+off|from%22+-intitle:%22%22+-inauthor:%22%22&source=bl&ots=RfmMsAy-NZ&sig=02cu2I_SWxphcHeJYyvEDIwnI9A&hl=en&sa=X&ei=veYwUKuvGOeWiQfvx4HQBA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22scabbed|scabbing%20off|from%22%20-intitle%3A%22%22%20-inauthor%3A%22%22&f=false page 121],
      The bark that wasn′t already scabbed off was peppered with beetle holes.
  3. (transitive) To remove part of a surface (from).
    • 1891, Canadian Senate, Select Committee on Railways, Telegraphs and Harbours: Proceedings and Evidence, [|scabbing+off|from%22+-intitle:%22%22+-inauthor:%22%22&dq=%22scabbed|scabbing+off|from%22+-intitle:%22%22+-inauthor:%22%22&source=bl&ots=ZiLLfPOkSK&sig=UqFsGERWd7pAacNUNno4KXVaw0I&hl=en&sa=X&ei=veYwUKuvGOeWiQfvx4HQBA&redir_esc=y page 265],
      The beds shall be scabbed off to give a solid bearing, no pinning shall be admitted between the backing and the face stones and there shall be a good square joint not exceeding one inch in width, and the face stone shall be scabbed off to allow this.
  4. (intransitive) To act as a strikebreaker.
    • 1903, April 5, Jack London, The Scab:
      Nobody desires to scab, to give most for least. The ambition of every individual is quite the opposite, to give least for most; and, as a result, living in a tooth-and-nail society, battle royal is waged by the ambitious individuals.
  5. (transitive, UK, Australia, NZ, informal) To beg (for), to cadge or bum.
    I scabbed some money off a friend.
    • 2004, Niven Govinden, We are the New Romantics, Bloomsbury Publishing, UK, [|scabbing+off|from%22+-intitle:%22%22+-inauthor:%22%22&source=bl&ots=qlA-afCBV7&sig=lXUliS1VwJnx_G_anuGODOuqv0E&hl=en&sa=X&ei=veYwUKuvGOeWiQfvx4HQBA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22scabbed|scabbing%20off|from%22%20-intitle%3A%22%22%20-inauthor%3A%22%22&f=false page 143],
      Finding a spot in a covered seating area that was more bus shelter than tourist-friendly, I unravelled a mother of a joint I′d scabbed off the garçon.
    • 2006, Linda Jaivin, The Infernal Optimist, 2010, HarperCollins Australia, [|scabbing+off|from%22+-intitle:%22%22+-inauthor:%22%22&source=bl&ots=a7BbqYTa_w&sig=1rsWuT5FlKRIoDemvOiF5rIwnok&hl=en&sa=X&ei=veYwUKuvGOeWiQfvx4HQBA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22scabbed|scabbing%20off|from%22%20-intitle%3A%22%22%20-inauthor%3A%22%22&f=false unnumbered page],
      I′d already used up me mobile credit. I was using a normal phone card, what I got from Hamid, what got it from a church lady what helped the refugees. I didn′t like scabbing from the asylums, but they did get a lotta phone cards.
    • 2010, Fiona Wood, Six Impossible Things, [|scabbing+off|from%22+-intitle:%22%22+-inauthor:%22%22&source=bl&ots=f4mKq4B7Jy&sig=uiRyvNUwGXtHIb5NuSN_WjS9wJU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=veYwUKuvGOeWiQfvx4HQBA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22scabbed|scabbing%20off|from%22%20-intitle%3A%22%22%20-inauthor%3A%22%22&f=false page 113],
      I′ve told Fred we can see a movie this weekend, but that just seems like a money-wasting activity. And I can′t keep scabbing off my best friend.

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