Green’s Dictionary of Slang

scran n.

[orig. Scot. ‘food, provisions, victuals, esp. inferior or scrappy food' (EDD); note RN jargon scran, rations]

1. payment for food at an inn.

[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: Scran, a Reckoning at a Boozing-ken.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.

2. (also scrand, scranny, scrano) food, esp. various bits of food, left-overs, ‘broken victuals’ etc., thrown together for an impromptu meal or a meal taken onto their job by a labourer.

[UK] ‘Frisky Moll’s Song’ in J. Thurmond Harlequin Sheppard 22: I Frisky Moll, with my rum coll, / Wou’d Grub in a bowzing ken; / But ere for the scran he had tipt the cole, / The Harman he came in.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795).
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 52: The needy flue-faker [...] born without a shirt, and not a bit of scran in his cup.
[UK] ‘With My Cook So Fair’ in Lummy Chaunter 67: Let him try all he can, he only will get scran.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 68: I’ve tumbled on a donna, who has been doing the multa bonna fakement, pallarying the slavies down the haries and she has done stunning, and copped a lummy slum of bonna scran.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 16 Oct. 1/1: For two days i haven’t had one bit of scran.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 71: ‘Come, lad, have a bit o’ scran, and I’ll stand a shant o’ gatter, I’ve got a teviss here;’ and then, suddenly remembering that he was no longer talking to one of his own fraternity, he added, ‘I meant to say, have a bit of this here vittals, and I’ll pay for a pot of beer, I’ve got a sixpence.’.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor III 315/2: Others beg ‘scran’ (broken victuals) of the servants at respectable houses.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. 222: SCRAN, pieces of meat, broken victuals [...] Scranning or ‘out on the scran,’ begging for broken victuals.
[UK]Dundee Courier 22 Sept. 7/3: Reaching down a big ‘scran-dish’ full of comestible.
[UK]S. Watson Wops the Waif 2/2: Git outside your scran as quick as yer knows how.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 19 Feb. 2/8: To indicate anything to eat it must be ‘chuck,’ ‘panam’, ‘scran’.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Harry’ Punch 24 Aug. 90/2: All yer mincey-wince mealy-mouthed haspirates is nothing but slop and cold scran.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 8 Jan. 1/1: He can put away a hundred weight of scran.
[NZ]‘A Cronk Camp’ Truth (Wellington) 19 Jan. 5: A Cronk Camp Where Navvies scoff Flyblown ‘Scran’.
[UK]W.H. Davies Autobiog. of a Super-Tramp 211: I never fail to get the sixteen farthings for my feather (bed), I get all the scrand (food) I can eat; and I seldom lie down at night but what I am half skimished (half drunk), for I assure you I never go short of my skimish.
[UK]Leamington Spa Courier 20 Sept. 7/1: There are a great many tramps staying in this district at the present time [...] In addition to ‘gagging’ ‘scran’ (food) and ‘thonicks’ (coppers), they also get hold of a lot of old ‘clobber’ (clothes).
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘Hitched’ Songs of a Sentimental Bloke 81: At last Doreen an me we gits away, / An’ leaves ’em doin’ nothin’ to the scran.
[US]Rising Sun 1 Jan. 3/2: Now Infantryman and Artilleryman, / Both wallow in Picardy mud. [...] His ‘scrano’s’ the same as the Infantry tuck, / And both dodge the 8-inch ‘dud’.
[UK]‘J.H. Ross’ Mint (1955) 36: The cook produced a much used plate of butter, an end of jam, and bread [...] ‘Scran up.’.
[UK]W.H. Davies Adventures of Johnny Walker 190: Beggars in London lodging-houses use the slang of lodging-houses, and not of the open road. [...] [They] say ‘chuck’ or ‘tommy,’ when they refer to food; but the latter [wandering beggars] say ‘scrand’.
[UK]K. Mackenzie Living Rough 159: We are getting our kip here and some scran for nothing.
[UK]D. Davin For the Rest of Our Lives 364: Got any scran left, Plugger?
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ They’re a Weird Mob (1958) 129: ’Ow’s the scran? [...] Ready fer the nosebags?
[Aus]L. Haylen Big Red 188: ‘We are going to give the men a talk.’ ‘Better off if you took them some scran.’.
[Aus]J. Wynnum I’m a Jack, All Right 54: You had one too many pick-me-ups and no scran.
[UK]D. Davin Breathing Spaces 95: Darby was a neighbour of ours and we used to cook up our scran over at his place.
[UK](con. 1950s–60s) in G. Tremlett Little Legs 62: I asked her [...] whether she could lay me on some scranny.
[UK]M. Newall ‘Sir Gawayne and the Grene Knyght’ in Indep. Weekend Rev. 26 Dec. 1: Sir Gary see if there’s any signe of that scranne yet.
[UK]N. Griffiths Stump 187: We went out on thee ale an we’re down Hardman Street an she wants some scran. Gets a chicken burger, like.
[UK](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 121: Eywis get peckish eftir a ride n horny eftir a scran.
[UK]I. Welsh Decent Ride 162: Wir [...] headin tae the fish bar in Montgomery Street, fir some scran.

In compounds

scran-bag (n.) (also scran-cly, scran-pocket) [SE bag; note milit. jargon scran-bag, a haversack]

1. a beggar’s receptacle for the scraps of food they solicit.

[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 131/1: Scran cly, a bag for beggars’ grub.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 7 Oct. 3/1: The barber singled him out several of the choicest morsels from his scran-bag.
J.D. Burn Autobiog. of a Beggar Boy 17: Your professional pickpocket looks down with contempt upon a knight of the scranbag, and the highflyer turns up his genteel proboscis at the common cadge.
[UK]Dundee Courier (Scot.) 21 June 7/6: Such a ‘scran pocket’ would probably hold twenty pounds of bacon and other food.
[UK]Sheffield Wkly Teleg. 21 Apr. 8/2: By the side of the horrible old man [...] there was a bag just like the scran-bag Denny and me used to carry when we went out begging.
[UK]M. Williams Round London 40: Many a toothsome morsel is yielded by the ‘scran bag’ of the professsional beggar.

2. any form of bag into which bits of food can be placed.

Hackney & Kingsland Gaz. 1 June 3/4: [In] the great national museum in Great Russell-street [...] there is a regulation that no ‘scran-bag’ from which a snack may be [...] snatched, is allowed to pass the janitors.
Derbys. Advertiser 2 Dec. 25/4: I saw a little wizened old vagrant turn out his ‘scran pocket’ by the roadside on the Ashby ‘main drag’.
C.A. Bridge Some Recollections 235: That chap’s pocket-handkerchief is in the scranbag.
J. Irving Naval Life and Customs 79: The Scranbag is an ancient institution in all His Majesty’s ships and shore establishments. Originally, no doubt, just a sack.
[Aus]B. Scott Banshee and Bullocky 64: The old nanny goat got into their scranbag [...] and ate all their flour.
scran crib (n.)

a restaurant.

[UK]Flash Mirror 21: B. Chewcock [...] has opened a long scran crib and says [...] he’ll for ready ding sarve ’em with savage lawyers, polonises and Garman sasengers [...] Bloody jemmies and faggots red hot ever darkey at nine.
scran-time (n.)

(Aus.) a mealtime.

[Aus]Aussie (France) 5 June 10/1: At scran-time his Bully and ‘Anzac Wafers’ were untouched, and he drank his section’s rum issue without noticing what he did.

In phrases

cold scran (n.)

something unappealling, distasteful, lit. ‘cold food’.

[UK] ‘’Arry on ’igh Art’ Punch 1 Feb. 42/1: Stone images, picters, engravings, and such-like artistic cold scran.

In exclamations

hard scran!

(Aus.) bad luck (to you)!

[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 19 June 4/3: The old ned was in good humour the other Sunday, so Carl M. went for a drive while the Love Lane boys had a good look at his orange bed. Hard scran he doesn’t know who did it .
[Aus]N. Lindsay Saturdee 54: I am not let to speak to you for a week. ‘Why ain’t you?’ demanded Waldo. ‘Because the old woman’s got it in for me about old Poulter,’ said Bill. ‘Hard scran,’ said Waldo.
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl.