scath·​ing ˈskā-ṯẖiŋ How to pronounce scathing (audio)
: bitterly severe
a scathing condemnation
scathingly adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for scathing

caustic, mordant, acrid, scathing mean stingingly incisive.

caustic suggests a biting wit.

caustic comments

mordant suggests a wit that is used with deadly effectiveness.

mordant reviews of the play

acrid implies bitterness and often malevolence.

acrid invective

scathing implies indignant attacks delivered with fierce severity.

a scathing satire

Examples of scathing in a Sentence

a scathing review of the book a scathing rebuttal of the latest theory concerning the assassination
Recent Examples on the Web The Roots drummer scoffed at Drake and K. Dot’s war in a fiery Instagram post on Tuesday night (May 8) where Quest put fans on blast for their visceral reactions to the haymakers exchanged on the scathing diss tracks. Michael Saponara, Billboard, 8 May 2024 Instead, government auditors claimed in several scathing reports, the money was stolen, misappropriated and put into non-existent projects. Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, 8 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for scathing 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'scathing.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1794, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of scathing was in 1794

Dictionary Entries Near scathing

Cite this Entry

“Scathing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: painfully harsh
a scathing look

More from Merriam-Webster on scathing

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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