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[skeyth] /skeɪð/
verb (used with object), scathed, scathing.
to attack with severe criticism.
to hurt, harm, or injure, as by scorching.
hurt, harm, or injury.
Origin of scathe
before 1000; (noun) Middle English scath(e), scade, schath(e) < Old Norse skathi damage, harm, cognate with Old English sc(e)atha malefactor, injury (with which the Middle English forms with sch- might be identified); (v.) Middle English scath(e), skath(e) < Old Norse skatha, cognate with Old English sceathian
Related forms
scatheless, adjective
scathelessly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for scathe
  • Such step could be done without scathe for the common currency.
  • And he must ride from one garrison to another to see the soldiers do not outrage or scathe the country.
British Dictionary definitions for scathe


verb (transitive)
(rare) to attack with severe criticism
(archaic or dialect) to injure
(archaic or dialect) harm
Derived Forms
scatheless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English sceatha; related to Old Norse skathi, Old Saxon scatho
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for scathe

c.1200, from Old Norse skaða "to hurt, harm, damage, injure," from Proto-Germanic *skath- (cf. Old English sceaþian "to hurt, injure," Old Saxon skathon, Old Frisian skethia, Middle Dutch scaden, Dutch schaden, Old High German scadon, German schaden, Gothic scaþjan "to injure, damage"), from PIE root *sket- "to injure." Only cognate outside Germanic seems to be in Greek a-skethes "unharmed, unscathed."

It survives mostly in its negative form, unscathed, and in figurative meaning "sear with invective or satire" (1852, usually as scathing) which developed from the sense of "scar, scorch" used by Milton in "Paradise Lost" i.613 (1667).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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