What did PM Tony Abbott mean when he said rumours about him were, ‘scurrilous gossip’?

Scurrilous – pronounced skuh-ruh-luh s – is a word that is often associated with politics and the behaviour of some politicians.

Scurrilous means -“grossly or obscenely abusive or defamatory”images

So when rumours/gossip are referred to as ‘scurrilous’ it means the rumours are deliberately trying to make someone look bad. Worse than that, it calls into question someone’s reputation or their integrity. But on the flip side when you say it out loud it can make you sound like a pirate. Try it.

Children are the masters of this when they are competing for friends ‘don’t be friends with him – he eats sand in the sandpit for lunch’ etc. Sadly the scurrilous name calling may only get worse from here! Fast forward 20 or so years and it can seem like politicians or anyone running for a position of power will use this as a technique to discredit their opponent. Spreading scurrilous gossip at this level however, can lead to defamation lawsuits. Also that awkward consequence The Public Apology.

imagesAdding the word scurrilous before words is like adding salt or herbs to food – it adds delicious flavour! Plain gossip becomes grossly insulting gossip. Ordinary language
becomes abusive and insulting words. Behaviour becomes scurrilous conduct.

Try adding scurrilous into your language today – it will be very satisfying.

For the full report of the recent use of the word scurrilous click here

Wonderful words like scurrilous:

  • vituperativeuse harsh or abusive language
  • scandalousimproper, shameful or disgraceful
  • salaciousobscene or grossly indecent


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