1Usually in plural. That which is scoured off (literally or figuratively). In biblical use, and allusions to this: a group of people despised and cast aside like rubbish; scum, riff-raff. Occasionally in singular: a worthless or contemptible person.
In the Bible verses Lamentations iii. 45 and 1 Corinthians iv. 13, and in writers following or echoing these, treated as a collective singular.
2Filth or defilement cleaned off and thrown away; refuse, rubbish, dregs.
Almost always in plural; compare sweepings.
Early 16th century; earliest use found in The New Testament. From off- + scouring.