: relating to or being a military policy involving deliberate and usually widespread destruction of property and resources (such as housing and factories) so that an invading enemy cannot use them
: directed toward victory or supremacy at all costs : ruthless
scorched-earth rhetoric

Word History

First Known Use

1937, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of scorched-earth was in 1937

Dictionary Entries Near scorched-earth

Cite this Entry

“Scorched-earth.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scorched-earth. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

scorched earth

: land stripped of anything that could be of use to an invading enemy force
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