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 Over two square miles of forestry in the northeastern region of Bení have been scorched so far and officials are fearful that a fire in Bolivia’s Amazon could threaten the indigenous communities. Fox News, "Focus on Brazil's Amazon fires, but a massive inferno rages next door in Bolivia," 28 Aug. 2019 Here in central Alaska, our spindly spruce trees open resinous cones to jump-start new seedlings when the parent tree is scorched. Nancy Fresco, The Conversation, "Huge wildfires in the Arctic and far North send a planetary warning," 14 Aug. 2019 If spoons are scorched on the bottom, that’s another giveaway; spoons can be used instead of tinfoil to heat the drugs. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "7 things to look for in a teen's bedroom that can tell you he or she is doing drugs," 22 July 2019 That skin cannot cannot restore itself after it's been scorched by fire. Brieanna J. Frank, azcentral, "As Woodbury Fire continues, Tonto National Forest officials assess damage to native vegetation," 24 June 2019 Against Akron, the Blazers were scorched for 359 yards through the air and allowed two fourth-quarter touchdowns that cut a 25-point UAB lead down to 11 points with less than five minutes remaining in the game. Evan Dudley, al, "10 takeaways from UAB’s first 2 weeks," 11 Sep. 2019 This one, off the bat of Miguel Sano, was scorched at 112.7 miles per hour and led off the fourth inning. Betsy Helfand, Twin Cities, "Twins take finale from Tigers in 7-4 win," 25 Aug. 2019 The exoplanet’s dayside is scorching, while its space-facing hemisphere sits out in the cold. Adam Mann, Scientific American, "Scientists Mull the Astrobiological Implications of an Airless Alien Planet," 19 Aug. 2019 By bookending a bus trip with autonomous shuttles, this collaboration could make public transit more desirable and orderly, all while keeping riders out of the scorching Southwest sun. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "9 cities with smart ideas to improve transportation," 18 Sep. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 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 Examples on the Web: Verb The Getty Fire broke out on early morning on October 28 and scorched over 740 acres. Amanda Jackson, CNN, "Firefighters found the only thing that survived when this house burned in the Getty Fire -- a wedding ring," 5 Nov. 2019 The Nets enjoyed their turn scorching the Rockets by hitting 56.1 percent of their first-half shots, including 66.7 percent of their 3s to go in front. Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle, "Rockets allow Nets to roll past them," 1 Nov. 2019 Additionally, residents of Sebastopol and some areas scorched by the Tubbs Fire including Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove neighborhood were issued evacuation warnings. Joe Garofoli,, "Sonoma County evacuations: Who must leave, how to get to safety," 26 Oct. 2019 Flames scorched the subway entrance as plumes of dense, gray smoke surged skyward. Time, "Hong Kong’s Subway System Was Once the City's Pride and Joy. Now It's a Target for Violent Protest," 25 Oct. 2019 Record-breaking heat waves saw sweaty Parisians splashing in the city's fountains, while high temperatures scorched grapes in vineyards and literally shut down the growing process for a time. Elin Mccoy,, "Despite extreme weather, 2019 is a ‘perfect storm’ vintage for wine," 14 Oct. 2019 For people who live below areas scorched by wildfire, a nearly non-existent monsoon means less of a chance for severe flooding. Washington Post, "Monsoon brings high hope, delivers little rain in Southwest," 1 Oct. 2019 Against Akron, the Blazers were scorched for 359 yards through the air and allowed two fourth-quarter touchdowns that cut a 25-point UAB lead down to 11 points with less than five minutes remaining in the game. Evan Dudley, al, "10 takeaways from UAB’s first 2 weeks," 11 Sep. 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

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

26 Oct 2019

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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