Scrimp vs skimp

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Scrimp and skimp are two words that sound similar and are spelled similarly, but mean different things. We will look at the definitions of scrimp and skimp, their origins and some examples of their use in sentences.

Scrimp means to use something sparingly or to be thrifty, to economize. Scrimp may usually has a slight negative connotation, it is usually more complimentary to state that someone is thrifty. The word scrimp first appears in the mid-1700s to mean to make small, to be meager. There are several theories as to the origin of the word scrimp. One theory is that the word originated in Scotland as scrimp to mean a meager amount of food. Another theory is that the word skrimp comes from the Swedish word skrumpna which means to shrink. Scrimp is a verb, related words are scrimps, scrimped, scrimping, scrimper, scrimpily, scrimpy, scrimpiness.

Skimp means to be use something sparingly, to put less time, materials, money or effort into a project than it needs. Skimp also carries a negative connotation, implying that someone has cheated on providing the amount of time, materials, money or effort needed to produce a quality outcome to a project. The word skimp appears in the mid-1800s as a back-formation of the word skimpy, which in turn may be derived from the Old Norse word skammr, which means shortly, hasty. Skimp is a verb, related words are skimps, skimped, skimping, skimper, skimpy, skimpily, skimpiness.


For already struggling owners, the ballooning debt can be crushing, leading them to scrimp on crucial services like heat, hot water and repairs. (The New York Times)

In particular, don’t skimp on anything related to leaking water and water damage, said Justin Pritchard, a certified financial planner and personal finance writer for The Balance, an brand. (The Las Vegas Review-Journal)