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score





A group of 20 items. The word comes from the Old Norse skor for a heavy mark used to indicate a string of twenty smaller marks; skor, in turn, is descended from the Indo-European sker, for cutting or slicing. From about 1400, score was also the word for a record or an amount due – the total of the score marks on a tally. It became a common word for the total of a tradesman's or innkeeper's account. So, to settle the score originally meant just to pay one's bill. But it acquired the figurative sense of taking revenge on somebody, and that's usually what is meant by the expression now. The more general meaning of score, as a tally, is used daily when the results of sports competitions are reported.


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