In the 'Savvy' series of books the word "scumble" is used in what I think is an original way. I have the sense it relates to using the savvy abilities the characters have, but I'm not sure what an exact definition would be.

A definition from Google is:

verb: modify (a painting or color) by applying a very thin coat of opaque paint to give a softer or duller effect. "the area surrounding the main figures will be scumbled"

noun: a thin, opaque coat of paint or layer of shading applied to give a softer or duller effect.

This doesn't seem relevant unless in some metaphorical sense?


A definition is given in the description for the book Scumble on Amazon:

Now, in addition to trying to figure out how to control - or scumble - his [Ledge's] savvy, he's got to worry about how to protect the family secrets.

In the book (pp. 250-251), the connection to painting is explained:

“Did you know that the word scumble is a painting term, Ledge?”

I shook my head.

“Momma could explain it to you better,” he went on. “But the way I understand it, scumbling is a technique painters use to tone down a color so bright it jumps right off the canvas—so intense it takes over—making it hard to notice anything else about the painting. Scumbling doesn't get rid of that bright color, it blends it better with the rest of the picture. It evens everything out. That way the painting feels more balanced.


“Scumbling is not about you trying to fit in with the rest of the world; it’s about making your savvy fit in better with you. It’s simply learning to balance all the different parts of yourself so that you don’t let the one thing that feels most out-of-control take over and rule your life. Get it?”

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.