1785–95; scathe + -ing2

scathingly, adverb Unabridged


verb (used with object), scathed, scathing.
to attack with severe criticism.
to hurt, harm, or injure, as by scorching.
hurt, harm, or injury.

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

scatheless, adjective
scathelessly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
scathe (skeɪð)
1.  rare to attack with severe criticism
2.  archaic, dialect or to injure
3.  archaic, dialect or harm
[Old English sceatha; related to Old Norse skathi, Old Saxon scatho]

scathing (ˈskeɪðɪŋ)
1.  harshly critical; scornful: a scathing remark
2.  damaging; painful

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1200, from O.N. skaða "to hurt, injure," from P.Gmc. *skath- (cf. O.E. sceaþian "to hurt, injure," O.Fris. skethia, M.Du. scaden, Du. schaden, O.H.G. scadon, Ger. schaden, Goth. scaþjan "to injure, damage"), from PIE base *sket- "to injure." Only cognate outside Gmc. seems to be in
Gk. a-skethes "unharmed, unscathed." 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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Example sentences
Not for us to take dominion over other people by scathing remarks.
Lovelock himself is scathing about many of the proposals to replace our
  dependence on fossil fuels.
Doctors and patients are equally scathing about the changes.
The daily press was scathing about what was-dodgy stage-management aside-a
  dreary, earthbound slab of oratory.
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