Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 14:44:02 -0500 From: Larry Horn Subject: skell? In response to a query from someone at a local newspaper here who's working on a story about words entering the public lexicon from TV shows, I'm wondering about the above, used on NYPD Blue and no doubt other hard-edge cop shows of that ilk (Brooklyn South?) as a police-detective-jargon term of art designating a low-life perp type of individual. (I haven't figured out the exact meaning from the contexts in which it's used, but skells seem never to be sympathetic sorts or unjustly accused suspects.) It's not in the sources I've checked, and the relevant volume of DARE isn't out yet, but I wonder whether it's at all related to the much earlier _skellum_ 'scounder, rascal' cited in the OED. Is it a regionalism? anyone know?