Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

WORD ORIGIN

c.1600, "beam or plank on which something rests," especially on which something heavy can be rolled from place to place (1782), of uncertain origin, probably from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse skið "stick of wood" (see ski (n.)). As "a sliding along" from 1890; specifically of motor vehicles from 1903. Skid-mark is from 1914.

In the timber regions of the American West, skids laid down one after another to form a road were "a poor thing for pleasure walks, but admirably adapted for hauling logs on the ground with a minimum of friction" ["Out West" magazine, October 1903]. A skid as something used to facilitate downhill motion led to figurative phrases such as hit the skids "go into rapid decline" (1909), and cf. skid row.

MORE RELATED WORDS FOR ON THE SKIDS

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.