A phrase I sometimes hear from one of my colleagues is scumbag or scumbags:
- Where does this phrase come from?
- How old is it?
- Is its usage still a common occurrence?
scumbag "condom," by 1967, slang, from scum + bag. Meaning "despicable person" is attested by 1971.
And I found this figurative use of the phrase from Chandler Brossard's 1953 The Bold Saboteurs:
What a scum bag of a world it was, what a miserable rat's life. I was getting so depressed I was forgetting the money in my pocket. In the early evening we all broke up. I told the fellows I might see them later at Sinbad's Bar
(See @Kit's comment above for current usage.)
I found an earlier reference for scum-bag as a straining bag used when refining sugar, described in 1819's The Cyclopædia;: or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature, Volume 34 by Abraham Rees:
Having kept it simmering for several hours, and having provided a cooler or receiver, over which is placed a strong wooden frame, and upon this a basket, to which a coarse bag, called the scum-bag, is fitted, he pours the contents of his pan into this basket and bag; and then the mouth of the bag is drawn up, and well twisted together, and a strong board, called a scum-board, is laid upon the bags, with several weights upon the board, to press down the scum.
Etymonline notes scum is early 14th century from foam or froth and:
Sense deteriorated from "thin layer atop liquid" to "film of dirt," then just "dirt." Meaning "lowest class of humanity" is 1580s
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