Scurvy, that disease brought about by a lack of Vitamin C, has pretty milky origins. Originally spelled scurfy, it used to be an adjective meaning "covered in scabs". The meaning narrowed because of exposure to a Dutch cognate which actually meant the disease, and the definition was extended because people with scurvy develop scabs and similar symptoms. Though it is somewhat uncertain, it is likely that scurfy comes from the Old Norse term skyrbjugr, which literally meant "sour milk swelling", of the elements skyr, "sour milk", and bjugr, "swelling". The correlation here is because of how scurvy sufferers' stomachs could swell after swallowing sour milk. That's one theory, however. Other possibilities include the Middle Low German schoren, which meant "to lacerate", because of lacerations in the stomach caused by scurvy. So, yeah, a lot of stomach stuff associated with scurvy.
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard College in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd