There are a bunch of insulting sk- words — scummy, scurvy, scruffy, scuzzy, sketchy come to mind. And everybody, even a snoot, seems to like negative-vibe phonetic symbolism. So if you try to make up a new word on this general pattern, say "skudgy", you'll probably find that many others have been there before you: "…by the next time we drag them out for bath-time play, we find that a skudgy sort of water is dispelled from the interior"; "The poet noted that the garage had a 'skudgy down-to-earth-ness'". Maybe skudgy is just a portmanteau of scummy and sludgy, or maybe we need to recognize the resonance with other words like scuzzy and dingy; but in any case, it's out there, waiting to be re-invented.
And that's how I reacted to the last word in today's Tank McNamara:
I knew I'd heard it before, but I figured it was just another onomatopoeic amalgam.
According to the OED, I was wrong. The gloss, as you'd expect, is "Disgusting, distasteful, or dirty; discomforting; sleazy". But the etymology is more interesting:
[< Italian regional (Tuscany) schifo, adjective (< Italian schifo (noun) sense of repugnance, nausea, disgust (1353 in Boccaccio) < Old French eschif hostile, fierce: see ESCHEW a.) + -Y. Cf. later SKEEVE v., SKEEVE n.]
And the first citation brings it close to home:
1976 J. D'ALESSANDRO in Philadelphia Mag. Mar. 125/1 The word ‘skeevie’ used by South Philadelphians to indicate something disgusting is from Italian ‘schifare’, to loathe.
I'm a little skeptical about South Philly slang coming from Tuscany, though.