scurvy

If you are a pirate who doesn't get to shore very often to shop for fresh fruits and veggies, you might suffer from scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency.

Scurvy has some alarming symptoms: your gums become soft and tender and your teeth fall out. Scurvy has become a rarity in most parts of the world, but in regions where food is scarce and malnutrition common, it's still a problem. The unpleasant associations of the word also make it a colorful (and archaic) way to describe something low-down and miserable, as in "that was a scurvy trick you played on me, you dastardly cur!"

Definitions of scurvy
  1. noun
    a condition caused by deficiency of ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
    synonyms: scorbutus
    see moresee less
    type of:
    avitaminosis, hypovitaminosis
    any of several diseases caused by deficiency of one or more vitamins
  2. adjective
    of the most contemptible kind
    “a scurvy trick”
    synonyms: abject, low, low-down, miserable, scummy
    contemptible
    deserving of contempt or scorn
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