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[skurj] /skɜrdʒ/
a whip or lash, especially for the infliction of punishment or torture.
a person or thing that applies or administers punishment or severe criticism.
a cause of affliction or calamity:
Disease and famine are scourges of humanity.
verb (used with object), scourged, scourging.
to whip with a scourge; lash.
to punish, chastise, or criticize severely.
1175-1225; (noun) Middle English < Anglo-French escorge, derivative of escorgier to whip < Vulgar Latin *excorrigiāre, derivative of Latin corrigia thong, whip (see ex-1); (v.) Middle English < Old French escorgier
Related forms
scourger, noun
scourgingly, adverb
self-scourging, adjective
unscourged, adjective
unscourging, adjective
3. plague, bane. 5. correct, castigate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for scourge
  • Velvet art gets a pretty bad rap, but what is the scourge of the art world actually has a fairly long history.
  • Sickness is different in this respect: few of us will escape it, especially during the scourge of old age.
  • But it isn't the scourge that the press has made it out to be.
  • In the time of a great drought, he exhorted the people to penance, to avert this scourge of heaven.
  • So abandoned to iniquity were some persons, that this scourge itself was not able to reclaim them.
  • Until lately this scourge carried off from one-sixth to one-tenth of a ship's crew on a long voyage.
  • After that opium addiction went from being a rare ostentation of nobles to a scourge that affected one in six of the population.
  • Three years ago the company was considered a parasite and a scourge.
  • Deadly bacteria are the scourge of emergency rooms, in part because there are not enough varieties of antibiotics to fight them.
  • But unemployment is bringing another scourge in its wake-overwork.
British Dictionary definitions for scourge


a person who harasses, punishes, or causes destruction
a means of inflicting punishment or suffering
a whip used for inflicting punishment or torture
verb (transitive)
to whip; flog
to punish severely
Derived Forms
scourger, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Anglo-French escorge, from Old French escorgier (unattested) to lash, from es-ex-1 + Latin corrigia whip
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 scourge
early 13c., from Anglo-Fr. escorge, back-formation from O.Fr. escorgier "to whip," from V.L. *excorrigiare, from L. ex- "out, off" + corrigia "thong, shoelace," in this case "whip," probably from a Gaulish word related to O.Ir. cuimrech "fetter." The verb is attested from early 13c. Scourge of God, title given by later generations to Attila the Hun (406453 C.E.), is attested from late 14c., from L. flagellum Dei.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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