Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Apr 3 22:18:08 UTC 2010

1973 Horace P. Beck _Folklore and the Sea_ (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan U.
P.) 68: At sea the reply to "What are you doing?" is "Why, I'm making a
scrudgeon." .... Further inquiry reveals that "a scrudgeon, young man, is a
rudder for a duck's arse."

To paraphrase Bill Clinton, consider the meaning of "is."  In this case,
the effective meaning is, "is almost never," but to say it so baldly would
be poor form in a collection of folklore.

Google Books suggests that possibly only two or three people in the history
of life on earth have used the word "scrudgeon" in this (or any other)
way. I tried as many spelling variations as I could imagine, including

FWIW, "scrudgeon" may be related, if only perversely, to Eng. dial.
_scrouge_, for which see EDD.

Naturally I will try to say "scrudgeon" whenever the question of
duck steering comes up,  The next WOTY?


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

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