Skulduggery is such a fantastic word! It isn’t a case of onomatopoeia but it is certainly sound symbolism. Say it out loud to yourself. It conjures up images of the very essence of its meaning 🙂
Once more I go to Merriam-Webster for the dictionary definition of this word.
: secret or dishonest behavior or activity
: underhanded or unscrupulous behavior; also : a devious device or trick
Examples in a sentence
<the company’s apparently healthy bottom line was merely an illusion, the result of years of accounting skulduggery>
Did You Know?
The word can also be spelled “skullduggery,” was first documented in the mid-19th century spelled as “scull-duggery.” Etymologists aren’t sure exactly how the word arrived in English, but they do not believe it has anything to do with skulls. It is possibly derived from the now-very-rare “sculduddery,” a term once used to refer to gross or lewd conduct, but unfortunately the origins of that word are also unknown.
I prefer my own theory as to its origins. What about Burke and Hare digging up corpses to sell to physicians for medical research? Digging up corpses includes skulls and maybe it was coined then?
Urban Dictionary: Skulduggery
Life would not be complete without a look at the Urban Dictionary definition. But it’s a little lacklustre (I prefer the British spelling version) –
1. General mischief
2. A fictional character from the book Skulduggery Pleasant; he is a skeletal detective with powers to influence water, earth, fire and air.
1. I bet they’ve been up to all sorts of skulduggery.
2. Skulduggery: I’m placing you under arrest for murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and, I don’t know, possibly littering.
by I’m me. Nice to meet you. April 10, 2010
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