Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


adjective \ˈskȯrcht-ˈərth\

Simple Definition of scorched–earth

  • —used to describe a military policy in which all the houses, crops, factories, etc., in an area are destroyed so that an enemy cannot use them

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of scorched–earth

  1. 1 :  relating to or being a military policy involving deliberate and usually widespread destruction of property and resources (as housing and factories) so that an invading enemy cannot use them

  2. 2 :  directed toward victory or supremacy at all costs :  ruthless <scorched–earth rhetoric>


First Known Use of scorched–earth


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up scorched–earth? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).