scath·​ing | \ ˈskā-ṯẖiŋ How to pronounce scathing (audio) \

Definition of scathing

: bitterly severe a scathing condemnation

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Other Words from scathing

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

More than 2,900 children were separated from their parents, prompting international outrage and scathing criticism over what many said was inhumane treatment of migrants. Fox News, "US plans to sidestep limits on detaining immigrant children," 6 Sep. 2018 The email, which was obtained by The Information's Amir Efrati, is absolutely scathing. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Uber manager in March: “We shouldn’t be hitting things every 15,000 miles”," 11 Dec. 2018 Italian designer Stefano Gabbana has a reputation for controversial, unfiltered and downright scathing remarks on social media. Brittany Talarico,, "Controversial Designer Stefano Gabbana Calls Selena Gomez 'Ugly' - and Her Fans Hit Back," 13 June 2018 In her scathing, 20-minute address, Wolf ripped into the Trump administration and took particular aim at White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Laignee Barron, Time, "President Trump Calls for the White House Correspondents' Dinner to be 'Put to Rest'," 30 Apr. 2018 Also in 2013, a team of academic researchers published a scathing critique of Supermicro security (PDF). Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "If Supermicro boards were so bug-ridden, why would hackers ever need implants?," 11 Oct. 2018 Last Sunday, after giving up four singles in a row as part of a five-run sixth inning in a 6-1 loss at San Francisco, veteran pitcher Jake Arrieta leveled a scathing critique of the way the Phillies position their infielders. Scott Lauber,, "Infield coach explains why Phillies are confident in run-prevention strategy | Scott Lauber," 8 June 2018 Musk may have been trolling his online audience, combining a scathing media critique with his notoriously quirky sense of humor. Peter Holley,, "Pravda: Elon Musk's solution for punishing journalists," 24 May 2018 Manigault Newman continued to unleash scathing criticism of the 72-year-old Trump, saying he’s in mental decline and unfit to be president, and is intentionally sowing racial division. Darlene Superville, The Seattle Times, "Defiant as Trump rages, Omarosa says she won’t be silenced," 14 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scathing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of scathing

1794, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for scathing

Last Updated

24 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for scathing

The first known use of scathing was in 1794

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English Language Learners Definition of scathing

somewhat formal : very harsh or severe

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More from Merriam-Webster on scathing

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scathing

Spanish Central: Translation of scathing

Nglish: Translation of scathing for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scathing for Arabic Speakers

Comments on scathing

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


a secret plot to overthrow a government

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