scorched-earth

adjective \ ˈskȯrcht-ˈərth \

Definition of scorched-earth

1 : 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
2 : directed toward victory or supremacy at all costs : ruthless
  • scorched-earth rhetoric

First Known Use of scorched-earth

1937

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

SCORCHED-EARTH Defined for English Language Learners

scorched-earth

Definition of scorched-earth for English Language Learners

  • —used to describe a military policy in which all the houses, crops, factories, etc., in an area are destroyed so that an enemy cannot use them


Learn More about scorched-earth


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up scorched-earth? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a figure representing a hated person

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a-closeup-of-a-sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!