In researching skullduggery, I came across so many other wonderful words I could hardly contain my glee. One site ( suggested, see also: hanky panky, hocus-pocus, jiggery-pokery.  And another site, (The Word Detective) suggested one meaning as “clandestine machinations.” That’s like a bonus round of words. Clandestine? Machinations? This is good stuff. As for where skullduggery comes from, there’s this from the Online Entomology Dictionary: 1856, apparently an alteration of Scottish sculdudrie “adultery” (1713), sculduddery “bawdry, obscenity” (1821), a euphemism of uncertain origin. By the way, today’s post was inspired by a tweet that @BetsyDrager shared, as a retweet from @WordWorlds (aka Rachel Thomas). In her words, skullduggery is “gnarly, crooked, tangible .. almost physical.” That’s spot on. Well said Rachel.

One thought on “Skullduggery

  1. Skullduggery, an interesting word, sounding like it is from another time, another place. I think
    it is a Sherlock Holmes kind of word…very British…very Sherlock.

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