verb (1)
\ˈskȯrch \
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 \ adverb

Examples of scorch in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The chance for a much bigger inning was foiled when Miguel Rojas scorched a liner back to the mount that Stratton caught in self-defense and tossed to third to double off Castro. Craig Davis,, "Trevor Richards notches first big-league win as Marlins down Giants again," 13 June 2018 Last year was among the warmest on record, and one in which the effects of climate change were keenly felt: Hurricanes lashed Texas, Florida and the Caribbean and wildfires scorched the American west, southern Europe, Chile, Siberia, even Greenland. The Washington Post,, "Doomsday Clock advances to 2 minutes until midnight," 25 Jan. 2018 Negativity is too time-consuming and soul-scorching to spend time with those who add little to my life. Ana Veciana-suarez, miamiherald, "Reclaiming my time: 2018 is the year of me | Miami Herald," 8 Jan. 2018 The blaze that started Thursday near the community of Hornbrook has scorched 55 square miles (142 square kilometers). Fox News, "The Latest: 3 arrested in connection with Colorado wildfire," 10 July 2018 Utility crews have restored power to more than 50,000 customers since Friday’s scorching heat wave swept through the region, said Joseph Ramallo, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power. Amina Khan,, "Crews work to restore power to L.A. County residents and businesses as heat wave continues," 8 July 2018 Los Angeles’ Griffith Observatory will remain closed Wednesday after a 25-acre brush fire scorched hillsides in Griffith Park a day earlier. Javier Panzar,, "Griffith Observatory to remain closed through Friday after brush fire scorches parkland," 12 July 2018 Boos were audible after Khris Davis scorched another, a run-scoring smash through the right side that summoned manager A.J. Hinch from the dugout. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Bizarre ending secures Astros' extra-innings victory over A's," 11 July 2018 Summer temperatures have reached scorching highs over the past several decades and, for many, that likely means your air conditioners are working overtime. Fiza Pirani, ajc, "Are air conditioners slowly killing us?," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The blaze burned brush and left scorch marks on some big trees that survived, said Cheryl Chipman, a fire information officer. CBS News, "Smoke from western wildfires causes health concerns," 5 Sep. 2017 The blaze burned brush and left scorch marks on some big trees that survived, said Cheryl Chipman, a fire information officer. Matt Volz And Sudhin Thanawala,, "Wind-whipped wildfires bear down on Glacier, Yosemite parks," 5 Sep. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The battle against wildfires goes on across the West, but there is good news from one community scorched by flames. Fox News, "The Latest: 3 arrested in connection with Colorado wildfire," 10 July 2018 If successful, the suits would put energy companies on the hook for billions of dollars in damages to pay for sea walls to protect cities from sea-level rise, relocating homes, and farmland scorched by wildfire. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Why Colorado thinks it has a chance to make oil companies pay for climate change," 5 July 2018 Factor in the scorching hot conditions wearing away the tires -- which blistered badly during the second practice session -- and many drivers are projecting a processional race with less passing than at the Indianapolis 500 a couple weeks ago. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Josef Newgarden's pole position at Texas could be more important than ever," 8 June 2018 Stars in danger of being scorched included Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire (the role brought him his sole Oscar nomination) and, in an early film appearance, O.J. Simpson. Bill Higgins, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hollywood Flashback: The Biggest Stars Battled a 'Towering Inferno' in 1974," 12 July 2018 That fire has scorched about 85 square miles and is 50 percent contained. CBS News, "Some progress vs. wildfires raging in drought-stricken West," 9 July 2018 Last July, 10 migrants died after traveling in the back of a truck in San Antonio’s scorching heat. Nicholas Kulish, New York Times, "Border Patrol’s Last Line of Defense? It Isn’t at the Border," 9 July 2018 The Alpine fire hopscotched through parched canyons, destroying 20 structures and scorching more than 400 acres, officials said. Andrea Castillo And John Wilkens, Anchorage Daily News, "California city devastated by brush fire as record heat burns a path of destruction," 7 July 2018 The blaze has scorched 8,200 acres and there has been no containment as of Monday morning. Joseph Serna,, "Gov. Jerry Brown declares state of emergency as Lake County fire threatens hundreds of homes," 25 June 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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Phrases Related to scorch

scorching hot

Statistics for scorch

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

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 \
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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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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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