Words: scrimp, adj., adv., v. and n.

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The Independent Culture
"NOW HE'S Sixty-Four!" You read it here first, but in seven years' time many headlines will use that emended phrase upon Paul McCartney's birthday. Such is journalists' obsession with other people's money, there will also be sneers about his having sung of renting a cottage on the Isle of Wight "if it's not too dear. / We shall scrimp and save."

That shall is not only alliterative but correct (unlike his "this world in which we live in"). Scrimp began as an adjective - meaning scant - in the early 18th century (missed by Johnson), and is probably from the Middle German schrimpfen for shrivel, hence wrinkle the nose. Soon a verb, and less commonly a noun, as in Virginia Woolf's account of her penmanship: "such a scrimp of a hand".

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