Return to Questions and Answers Index

Q&A    Questions and Answers:


Hi Bob,

I have searched and searched without result for the meaning of the slang word "scudder" or "skudder." I am not at all sure of the spelling but it is used in this way... "you old skudder you" The reference I quote from is the TV show called Gunsmoke, written by Gustav Field, running on TV during the late 50's through the 60's and early 70's (I think)

The character Festus Hagen uses this term frequently when referring to "Doc" another character whom he displays a love/hate relationship with.

I can guess the meaning but it is used in varying ways... as an insult to the doc and also toward inanimate objects.

Can you please help me with my query and if possible tell me where it originated and why, if you have the knowledge and are so inclined. I appreciate greatly as there seems to be no other reference to this term in any of the available "slang dictionary" websites. I have even searched for Old American terms/slang websites, cowboy lingo sites, and Old West sites, etc.

I am now going crazy with distraction and probably won't sleep till I find the answer. (he he) I have sent to but have had no luck there, or with Wikipedia either.

You are the one hope I have left!

Thank you Bob


A. K.


Doc and Festus from the TV show Gunsmoke That's an interesting question, and since ol' Festus isn't around to ask, I'll just have to take my best guess as to the answer. According to the word is "scutter" and means "old man."

Unfortunately, that word doesn't seem to appear anywhere else in the English language. That leaves us with two options:

An example of the latter situation is the New England word "scultch," meaning a collection of clean trash or rubbish; such as string, paper, or cloth. The word has been passed along orally over the years, resulting in such variant spellings (and pronunciations) as "culch," "cultch," and "sculch." Among the various applications of those words is "a pile of usable scrap metal."

I suspect that the correct spelling is "scudder," a term that goes back to the days of the old windjammer sailing ships. "To scud" means to move along swiftly, as before a high wind or gale. Even today, we sometimes hear someone speak of "clouds scudding before the wind." A "scudder," therefore, would be something driven by a high or tempestuous wind. On that basis, a possible alternative for your quote might be, "You old windbag, you!"

It would be interesting to track down any surviving script writers from Gunsmoke and ask for their view on the topic.

Previous Question  |  Next Question

Return arrow Return to Questions and Answers Index

Return arrow Return to the "Learning More About Horses..." page

The contents of this document are not for reproduction.