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 light was so intense that the paint scorched and smoked And almost ignited ! Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "Martha Stewart Posts Terrifying Photos After Her Makeup Mirror Almost "Ignited" Her Bathroom," 7 Jan. 2019 Cold launching involves ejecting a missile from a silo without using the main rocket motor, which would scorch the inside of the silo. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "New Video Shows Russia's Mobile ICBMs Tackling the Snow," 17 Dec. 2018 But Trump issued a reprieve, perhaps partly because U.S. tech companies, major suppliers to ZTE, would also have been scorched. Rob Gillies, The Seattle Times, "Trump comments upend US approach to Huawei, trade talks," 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 Lubeck was up north near the Arctic Circle as recently as mid-June, and was nearby when another frigate, FGS Sachsen, was accidentally scorched by its own missile. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Why Does This German Frigate Have Drone “Kill Marks”?," 27 Aug. 2018 The Rattlesnake Fire in the eastern part of the state has scorched more than 11,300 acres as of Wednesday evening, officials said. Brieanna J Frank, azcentral, "Rattlesnake Fire grows to more than 11,000 acres in eastern Arizona," 18 Apr. 2018 Each day here, miners wearing shoddy headlamps descend 400 feet below scorching sand to grind and hammer into rock. Joe Parkinson, WSJ, "Thousands Flock to Remote, Lawless Sahara in Search of Gold," 16 Oct. 2018 The agency said Wednesday the Mendocino Complex — twin fires that erupted in July in Lake County — killed a firefighter and destroyed 157 homes while scorching 720 square miles (1,865 square kilometers) of brush and timber north of San Francisco. Fox News, "Biggest wildfire on record in California is fully contained," 19 Sep. 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

The dangerous heat wave scorching much of the country has turned deadly and more than 103 million Americans are under heat alerts. CBS News, "Heat wave blamed for at least 3 deaths in Northeast," 4 July 2018 Wildfires are tearing across California, Colorado, New Mexico and other Western states this week, chewing up bone-dry mountainsides, scorching buildings and forcing hundreds of people to evacuate from their homes. New York Times, "‘The New Normal’: Wildfires Roar Across the West, Again," 2 July 2018 JT Riddle pinch hit for Yadiel Rivera and scorched a line drive to left field that Michael Conforto snared with a diving catch. Andre C. Fernandez, miamiherald, "Future may look bright, but Marlins still dealing with offensive woes in the present," 1 July 2018 Buddy Guy plays 150 shows a year and releases a new album every 24 months, and his take on the blues, expressed through his plaintive voice and virtuosic guitar, is still scorching. David Ritz, Billboard, "Buddy Guy Talks Enlisting Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to Ensure 'The Blues Is Alive and Well'," 15 June 2018 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 Many of the fires have burned only one or two acres, but others scorched thousands and destroyed multiple structures. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "Arizona officials hope milder winds help slow wildfire activity," 14 May 2018 Trumbo, who Skoglund held hitless in three at-bats, scorched a two-out line drive to third base. Maria Torres, kansascity, "Mark Trumbo's eighth-inning hit dooms Royals in loss to Orioles | The Kansas City Star," 9 May 2018 The Saints could have used Crawley in Week 1 when Sam Bradford scorched New Orleans’ secondary. Larry Holder,, "6 Saints players to watch in Sunday's NFC Divisional playoff game vs. the Vikings," 13 Jan. 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

19 Jan 2019

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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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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

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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