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[skawrch] /skɔrtʃ/
verb (used with object)
to affect the color, taste, etc., of by burning slightly:
The collar of the shirt was yellow where the iron had scorched it.
to parch or shrivel with heat:
The sun scorched the grass.
to criticize severely.
Machinery, burn1 (def 31).
to destroy (crops, towns, etc.) by or as if by fire in the path of an invading army's advance.
verb (used without object)
to become scorched:
Milk scorches easily.
Informal. to travel or drive at high speed:
The car scorched along the highway.
a superficial burn.
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English scorchen, perhaps blend of scorcnen (< Scandinavian; compare Old Norse skorpna to shrivel) and torch1
Related forms
unscorched, adjective
well-scorched, adjective
1. char, blister. See burn1 . 3. excoriate, condemn.
3. laud. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for scorched
  • Almost immediately, burning cinders scorched their clothes.
  • In the centre was a hillock or tumulus, surmounted by a scorched hawthorn.
  • Sun-drenched living room, sun-scorched master suite, and sun-ravaged kitchen will have you checking yourself for moles.
  • When the chemicals receded in the dry weather, they left the gardens and shrubs withered and scorched, as if by a brush fire.
  • The scorched area they're studying was struck by lightning a year ago, clearing the hillside of juniper and sagebrush.
  • They held their sun-scorched eyes to the horizon, searching for land, but there was none.
  • Part of it was seen as personal because she had scorched him in public.
  • First, the surgeon removes the scorched tissue from the affected area.
  • Citizens have helped clean the litter-strewn, scorched and bloodied streets.
  • He suffered a scorched colon and is now recovering in hospital, where his condition is described as stable.
British Dictionary definitions for scorched


to burn or become burnt, so as to affect the colour, taste, etc, or to cause or feel pain
to wither or parch or cause to wither from exposure to heat
(intransitive) (informal) to be very hot: it is scorching outside
(transitive) (informal) to criticize harshly
(intransitive) (Brit, slang) to drive or ride very fast
a slight burn
a mark caused by the application of too great heat
(horticulture) a mark or series of marks on fruit, vegetables, etc, caused by pests or insecticides
Derived Forms
scorching, adjective
Word Origin
C15: probably from Old Norse skorpna to shrivel up
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for scorched



"to burn superficially or slightly, but so as to change the color or injure the texture," early 14c., perhaps an alteration of scorrcnenn "make dry, parch" (c.1200), of obscure origin, perhaps from Old Norse skorpna "to be shriveled," cognate with Old English scrimman "to shrink, dry up." Or perhaps from Old French escorchier "to strip off the skin," from Vulgar Latin excorticare "to flay," from ex- (see ex-) + Latin cortex (genitive corticis) "cork;" but OED finds this not likely. Scorched earth military strategy is 1937, translation of Chinese jiaotu, used against the Japanese in a bid to stem their advance into China.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for scorched


  1. To travel very fast; barrel: I proceed to scorch to make up for lost time (1891+)
  2. To throw the ball very fast and hard; burn: You had to love how he scorched Buddy Ryan (1940s+ Baseball)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Encyclopedia Article for scorched


symptom of plant disease in which tissue is "burned" because of unfavourable conditions or infection by bacteria or fungi. Unfavourable conditions include hot, dry wind in full sun, an imbalance of soil nutrients, altered water table or soil grade, deep planting, compacted shallow soil, paved surface over roots, salt drift near the ocean, low temperatures, air pollutants, and girdling roots. Scorch is common as dead areas along or between the veins and margins of leaves. Control involves correcting the causative environmental condition: growing plants in fertile soil in a protected location and maintaining vigour by proper watering, fertilizing, pruning, and mulching. See also sunscald.

Learn more about scorch with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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