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

That speed continued to scorch Dallas throughout the night. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Four things we learned from Orlando City’s 2-0 win at home against FC Dallas," 5 Aug. 2019 This is the first major heat wave to scorch the country this summer. Justin Carissimo, CBS News, "Massive heat wave blamed for at least 6 deaths," 21 July 2019 High temperatures are expected to scorch the major cities of the East Coast. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "More than 185 million U.S. residents are under watches and warnings as dangerous heat wave begins," 19 July 2019 Élfido García sat in the scorching sun Thursday tending to agave plants in Homestead, Florida. Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, "ICE raids are looming. Panicked immigrants are skipping work, hiding out and bracing for the worst," 12 July 2019 In Trona, a family of five sought shelter from the scorching sun on Saturday afternoon under the shade of a tree. Giulia Mcdonnell Nieto Del Rio,, "Hundreds pack Ridgecrest town hall after two earthquakes shook community," 7 July 2019 And any poults that did result from rare successful nests faced a dry landscape that was lacking abundant insects for forage and grasses or other vegetation for cover from predators and Texas’ scorching summer sun. Shannon Tompkins,, "Texas turkeys thriving after mild, wet spring," 8 June 2019 But trees had been scorched over a five-mile radius, with all their branches blown off. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "New research on Tunguska finds such events happen less often than we thought," 17 July 2019 The blaze, which broke out about 12:25 p.m. near Center and Masten avenues, scorched about five acres before Cal Fire got it under control. Emily Deruy, The Mercury News, "San Jose: 4-alarm grass fire burns 2 structures, 47 acres; dog killed," 16 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

His father drove up to the area after the crash and saw a large black scorch mark and shattered parts of the jet scattered throughout the area between the parking lot and lookout, Cassell said. Time, "'It Looked Like a Bomb.' U.S. Fighter Jet Crashes in Death Valley National Park, Injuring 7 People," 1 Aug. 2019 The presidential helicopter isn’t supposed to leave scorch marks on the White House lawn. Fortune, "Trump’s New Helicopter Has a Flaw: It Scorches the White House Lawn," 20 July 2019 As two-thirds of the US scorches under the sun this weekend, city officials and emergency departments are warning against the danger that pets will face. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "More than 150 million will be in stifling heat this weekend from the Plains to Midwest to East Coast," 20 July 2019 The Newport News Daily Press reports that the torching left a large scorch mark in the pavement. Robert Gearty, Fox News, "Video captures American flag burning at Walmart, prompts arrest," 6 July 2019 But until Friday, this one may have seemed slightly feeble, lacking the totality of scorch or swelter in which so many of us take perverse pride. Martin Weil, Washington Post, "Heat wave feels like a familiar Washington summer," 28 June 2019 The scorch marks across the landscape are visible from satellites. Washington Post, "Mystery crop fires scorch thousands of acres in Syria and Iraq — and ISIS claims responsibility," 8 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

July was a scorching month around the globe, but Dallas-Fort Worth got lucky. Jesus Jimenez, Dallas News, "July was Earth's hottest month ever, but Dallas-Fort Worth lucked out," 15 Aug. 2019 Fourteen firefighters have died this year as wildfires have scorched about 3,500 square miles and destroyed some 3,000 homes. Keith Ridler, The Seattle Times, "Study shows wild-land firefighters suffer health, reaction-time declines," 2 Sep. 2018 With two outs, Nomar Mazara scorched a double to right-center to bring home Choo. Steve Kroner,, "Rangers hand A’s third consecutive loss," 27 July 2019 The fire had scorched about 132 square miles (341 square kilometers) of desert near the center of the 890-square mile (2,306 kilometer) property, away from the buildings that make up Idaho National Laboratory. Washington Post, "Arizona city watches, worries as mountain area burns," 23 July 2019 But trees had been scorched over a five-mile radius, with all their branches blown off. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "New research on Tunguska finds such events happen less often than we thought," 17 July 2019 Next summer's Olympics in humid Tokyo will feature a marathon that starts at 6 a.m. This year's track and field world championships are in scorching-hot Qatar, where organizers will start the marathon at midnight. Rick Maese,, "Extreme heat is changing sports, from the Olympics to local races," 15 July 2019 Containment of the blaze remained at 68% on Saturday, while fire officials say the flames have scorched more than 123,800 acres. Mike Cruz, azcentral, "Heat, gusty winds challenge Woodbury Fire crews, say fire officials," 29 June 2019 Ross started the season scorching hot at the plate. Tim Schwartz,, "Two-way star Dunn takes home Howard County baseball Player of the Year," 17 June 2019

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

17 Aug 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 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).


not constant or steady

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