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

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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 By the time the fires subsided, more than four million acres of forest had been scorched. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, "The Fall of Evo Morales," 16 Mar. 2020 Overview: Was scorching at the end of the season, winning their last eight Big Ten games. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "The 2020 NCAA tournament that could have been: South region," 16 Mar. 2020 The fires, which ripped across large parts of the country in 2019 and early 2020, scorched more than 44 million acres and killed more than two dozen people. Amy Gunia, Time, "Climate Change Made Australia's Devastating Bushfires More Likely, Scientists Confirm," 5 Mar. 2020 And Ahmedabad, sun-scorched and decidedly unglamorous, has rarely seen a spectacle like what is expected Monday, when Trump arrives to kick off a two-day official visit to India, the first of his presidency. Shashank Bengali, Los Angeles Times, "How to impress Trump: Indian city builds a wall and plans to fill a stadium," 23 Feb. 2020 The most brutal Democratic debate so far Six Democratic presidential candidates scorched one another without letup in a crucial debate Wednesday night in Las Vegas. Andrea Kannapell, New York Times, "Hanau, Coronavirus, Michael Bloomberg: Your Thursday Briefing," 20 Feb. 2020 South Hadley sophomore Jonas Clarke scorched the meet record in the 55, winning in 6.41. Mike Puzzanghera,, "Austin Prep girls, Amesbury boys claim first D5 track titles," 16 Feb. 2020 The tragedy brings the death toll to at least 27 people in a crisis that has destroyed more than 2,000 homes and scorched an area larger than the U.S. state of Indiana since September. Nick Perry, Anchorage Daily News, "Firefighter dies as Australia works on long-term battle plan," 12 Jan. 2020 Over 12 million acres have been scorched, almost twice the size of New Jersey. Petra Cahill, NBC News, "U.S. strike ordered by Trump kills top Iranian military leader, Tehran vows revenge: The Morning Rundown," 3 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But black scorch marks above the grate revealed fires that had once burned in it. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The 1830s Cothren House cabin in Mineral Point is great for a cozy winter getaway," 13 Feb. 2020 As the sun rose, close-up views showed the large white and black capsule upright with hardly any scorch marks from re-entry. Marcia Dunn,, "Boeing capsule returns after aborted space mission," 22 Dec. 2019 Early Monday, few remnants of the fire could be seen from the outside besides some scorch and charring marks on the section of the building where the fire is believed to have started, and an adjacent mini-mart. George Kelly, The Mercury News, "Suspected sex toy shop arsonist had been recently evicted from building: authorities," 15 Sep. 2019 Photographer Rus Khasanov scorches, bleaches, freezes, and rips apart old discs. Laura Mallonee, Wired, "The Psychedelic Beauty of Destroyed CDs," 18 Dec. 2019 That floor, Martin said, is both the original floor that Catherine walked on during her reign and the one on which Nazi soldiers built a fire during World War II, as evidenced by scorch marks. Julia Jacobs, New York Times, "Helen Mirren Plays Catherine II in the Years That Made Her ‘the Great’," 21 Oct. 2019 Examining tree rings and scorch marks, Stephens was able to construct a record of fires dating back to the sixteen-hundreds. Nicola Twilley, The New Yorker, "A Trailblazing Plan to Fight California Wildfires," 19 Aug. 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb More than 2,000 firefighters, many of them volunteers, traversed Australia to fight the devastating wildfires that scorched millions of acres there. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "The Good Stuff: Heartfelt reunions, second chances and friendly pups," 22 Feb. 2020 The three men were among nearly 150 U.S. firefighters sent to assist in the ongoing battle against the deadly wildfires that have scorched Australia since September. Fox News, "Bodies of 2 American firefighters killed battling Australia blazes sent home," 6 Feb. 2020 The fires have claimed at least 28 lives since September, destroyed more than 2,600 homes and scorched more than 25.7 million acres. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, "Deadly funnel-web spiders descend on battered Australian cities, experts warn of bite," 22 Jan. 2020 The national death toll has hit 25, authorities say, as fires around the country have scorched more than 12 million acres of land. Lars Brandle, Billboard, "Sound Relief 2020 Australian Bushfire Benefit Concerts Are Coming," 8 Jan. 2020 The fires have scorched nearly 20 million acres of land, and authorities say the blazes could keep burning for months. Chevaz Clarke, CBS News, "Russell Crowe skipped the Golden Globes to face the raging wildfires in Australia," 6 Jan. 2020 The most powerful winds will be in Southern California, where the Getty fire has scorched more than 600 acres and spurred thousands of evacuations around Los Angeles., "California Faces Strongest Winds in a Decade as Blackout Spreads - The Boston Globe," 30 Oct. 2019 The winds have already exacerbated a brush fire in Santa Barbara County on Thursday that scorched more than 400 acres. Andy Nguyen, La Cañada Valley Sun, "Fire danger level raised to ‘extreme’ in Angeles National Forest," 18 Oct. 2019 Cooler temperatures and higher humidity levels are helping firefighters advance on a wildfire that scorched the San Fernando Valley hills and forced thousands to evacuate from their homes. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Firefighters make progress on Southern California wildfire," 13 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for scorch

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for scorch

Last Updated

29 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scorch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Mar. 2020.

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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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