verb (1)
\ ˈskȯrch How to pronounce scorch (audio) \
scorched; scorching; scorches

Definition of scorch

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to burn a surface of so as to change its color and texture
2a : to dry or shrivel with or as if with intense heat : parch
b : to afflict painfully with censure or sarcasm
3 : devastate especially : to destroy (something, such as property of possible use to an advancing enemy) before abandoning used in the phrase scorched earth

intransitive verb

1 : to become scorched
2 : to travel at great and usually excessive speed
3 : to cause intense heat or mental anguish scorching sun scorching fury



Definition of scorch (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a result of scorching
2 : a browning of plant tissues usually from disease or heat


verb (2)
scorched; scorching; scorches

Definition of scorch (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

dialectal British
: cut, slash

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Other Words from scorch

Verb (1)

scorchingly \ ˈskȯr-​chiŋ-​lē How to pronounce scorchingly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of scorch in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But the state’s fire investigator, Cal Fire, has found PG&E responsible for 17 major fires in 2017 that scorched 193,743 acres in eight counties, destroyed 3,256 structures and killed 22 people. Rebecca Smith, WSJ, "California Girds for Higher Power Prices From PG&E After Fires," 13 Dec. 2018 Firefighters are gaining ground against the Hill Fire, which has scorched 4,500 acres. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Deadly wildfires are still threatening Northern and Southern California," 12 Nov. 2018 Crews got full control over a stubborn fire that scorched 142 square miles of brush and destroyed 20 structures in Yolo and Napa counties. Fox News, "Deadly fire shuts down key route to Yosemite National Park," 16 July 2018 The wildfire has prompted pre-evacuation warnings and scorched 170 acres of northern Arizona, near Lake Mary Road and State Route 87, along the Mogollon Rim, officials from the Coconino National Forest said. Kimberly Rapanut, azcentral, "Crews stop forward progress of Tank Fire threatening 100 structures," 14 June 2018 Vici, population 700, was hit hard in the fires that scorched nearly 350,000 acres across the region, left two people dead, and blackened mile after mile of pasture. Mitch Smith,, "Hay from strangers helps save cattle in fire-scorched Oklahoma," 29 Apr. 2018 Vici, population 700, was hit hard in the fires that scorched nearly 350,000 acres across the region, left two people dead, and blackened mile after mile of pasture. Mitch Smith, New York Times, "In Fire-Scorched Oklahoma, Help Comes One Bale at a Time," 29 Apr. 2018 The Eagle Creek Fire, which was sparked last year by a teenager who threw a firecracker off a cliff on a popular hiking trail, scorched more than 48,000 acres and decimated much of the pikas habitat. Kale Williams,, "Oregon Zoo to lead study of vulnerable pika in wake of Eagle Creek Fire," 16 Mar. 2018 Since then, as The Los Angeles Times reported, the resulting blaze had scorched 121,000 acres, destroyed 1,564 buildings, killed six, and scourged the city of Redding and the surrounding area, a little over 200 miles north of San Francisco. Lauren Young, Teen Vogue, "California Wildfires Are Proof of Climate Change, According to Governor Jerry Brown," 2 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Both Bird and Lime seem to be wising up to the limitations of the scorch-the-earth strategy. Johana Bhuiyan, Recode, "The bare-knuckle tactics Uber used to get its way with regulators are not going to work for scooter startups," 30 Aug. 2018 Recent missile firings might leave minor scorch marks or fouling on the Lubeck’s paint job, but the ship looks pristine. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Why Does This German Frigate Have Drone “Kill Marks”?," 27 Aug. 2018 Summer nights in the 70s seem part of the silent bargain many of us make with Washington weather, tolerating the inevitable sweat and scorch of the day in return for a bit of respite after dark. Martin Weil, Washington Post, "Washington saw days of swelter this week; the nights were pretty warm too," 6 July 2018 Bourdain clearly operates with all six burners on scorch, and the result keeps the reader excited. Deirdre Donahue, USA TODAY, "Our review: Anthony Bourdain's 'Kitchen Confidential' captured restaurants' demented glory," 8 June 2018 Though the prequels certainly felt some of its scorch, this is the first Star Wars trilogy to truly contend with the full force of the Internet’s attention. Joanna Robinson, HWD, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," 17 Dec. 2017 Chile brings an insistent thrust to every dish, sometimes a scorch and quick retreat, sometimes a steady radiance. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, "Tastes That Are Distinctly Bangladeshi in Queens," 26 Oct. 2017 Stir tomatoes frequently so mixture does not scorch on bottom. Mary G. Pepitone, kansascity, "Sweet, savory homemade ketchup a legacy of love | The Kansas City Star," 24 Oct. 2017 City dwellers will have a difficult time seeing anything but the brightest scorches of light. Neel V. Patel, Slate Magazine, "Treat Yourself to a Meteor Shower," 20 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

On Sunday, a few hundred of Mr. Guaidó’s supporters were waiting for him under scorching heat in front of a school here in this coastal town facing the Caribbean Sea, about an hour’s drive from the capital, Caracas. Kejal Vyas And Ginette Gonzalez, WSJ, "Venezuela Opposition Leader Detained, Then Released," 13 Jan. 2019 The blaze is largely out of control after scorching more than 6 square miles (16 square kilometers) of dry brush in on the park's western edge. Fox News, "The Latest: Crews to try again to get body of firefighter," 15 July 2018 Fueled by scorching heat and strong winds, several brush fires encircled San Diego County on Friday, incinerating multiple structures and forcing the evacuation of 2,400 people. Karen Pearlman,, "Brush fires fueled by high heat, winds slam San Diego County," 7 July 2018 In a devastating turn of fate, some of the areas scorched by fires last year were hit by massive flooding early this year. Umair Irfan, Vox, "What we learned from the disasters that hammered the US in 2018," 27 Dec. 2018 Some people perspire gently, appearing (at most) dewy after a workout or under scorching mid-August sun. Sarah Wu, Glamour, "This Is the Best Natural Deodorant No One's Talking About," 12 Dec. 2018 Santa Rosa City Councilwoman Julie Combs was the sole vote against a 237-unit townhome project on a field that was scorched by the Tubbs Fire. Jim Carlton, WSJ, "In California, Last Year’s Wildfire Victims Struggle to Recover," 25 Nov. 2018 Privacy - Terms Serving the public isn’t about building an attractive carcass to attract prospective developers but about alleviating the daily hardship of riders who everyday wait in the scorching sun, thunder and rain for a bus. Fabiola Santiago, miamiherald, "South Miami-Dade leaders are right: If they settle for buses, they’ll never get rail," 6 July 2018 Playing three or four games in the scorching sun should mean a tent set up adjacent to a dugout with coolers filled with drinks, wet cloths and quick snacks. Shelby Dermer,, "Parents and athletes: How to spot and treat heat-related illnesses this summer," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scorch.' 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 scorch

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for scorch

Verb (1)

Middle English; probably akin to Middle English scorcnen to become singed, scorklen to parch

Verb (2)

Middle English, perhaps blend of scoren to score and scocchen to scotch

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Statistics for scorch

Last Updated

13 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scorch

The first known use of scorch was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for scorch



English Language Learners Definition of scorch

: a damaged area or mark that is caused by burning


\ ˈskȯrch How to pronounce scorch (audio) \
scorched; scorching

Kids Definition of scorch

1 : to burn on the surface The fire scorched the bottom of the pan.
2 : to dry or shrivel with or as if with intense heat Drought scorched the crops.
3 : to produce intense heat The wind had died and already the sun was beginning to scorch.— Theodore Taylor, The Cay

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More from Merriam-Webster on scorch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scorch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scorch

Spanish Central: Translation of scorch

Nglish: Translation of scorch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scorch for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about scorch

Comments on scorch

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


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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