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

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 Privacy - Terms Serving the public isn’t about building an attractive carcass to attract prospective developers but about alleviating the daily hardship of riders who everyday wait in the scorching sun, thunder and rain for a bus. Fabiola Santiago, miamiherald, "South Miami-Dade leaders are right: If they settle for buses, they’ll never get rail," 6 July 2018 That doesn’t make him Eric Mangini, but the Patriots did seem to enjoy scorching that Miami earth. 18., "Just thinking: Hapless Dolphins had no chance against Patriots," 16 Sep. 2019 However, the equipment glitched and caught on fire, scorching the surrounding field as well. Claudia Harmata,, "The Tennessee Titans Literally Lit Up the Field at Their Home Opener," 16 Sep. 2019 Something went wrong along the way, and a fire scorched the sideline after the players had cleared the field. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "The Tennessee Titans left the field on fire in their home opener. No, actually -- the field was on fire," 15 Sep. 2019

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

But the Rockies scorched him for six runs (five earned) on seven hits in four-plus innings. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Rockies’ Jon Gray dominates Dodgers in 9-1 victory," 29 July 2019 However, the equipment glitched and caught on fire, scorching the surrounding field as well. Claudia Harmata,, "The Tennessee Titans Literally Lit Up the Field at Their Home Opener," 16 Sep. 2019 The train’s conductor tried to extinguish the fire that scorched the front of the engine. Wayne K. Roustan,, "Police identify Maserati driver killed in train collision," 13 Sep. 2019 The utility also has been found to be responsible for causing a fatal fire that scorched parts of Amador County and Calaveras County in 2015 that’s known as the Butte Fire. George Avalos, The Mercury News, "PG&E files $17.9 billion bankruptcy exit plan that caps payments to wildfire victims," 9 Sep. 2019 Humphrey Bogart scorches the screen while Ingrid Bergman is enchanting in a breathlessly romantic and genuinely funny epic about Morocco during WWII. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "45 Classic Movies to Watch If You Love Rom-Coms," 9 Sep. 2019 The Earthquakes have scored 45 goals this season, the second-most in the Western Conference only behind LAFC, which has scorched the league with 74 goals. Julia Poe,, "Orlando City chases vital points during road match against San Jose Earthquakes," 30 Aug. 2019 During last year’s fire season, the Aliso fire broke out in June below Laguna’s Top of the World neighborhood and scorched 175 acres before firefighters could fully contain it. Daily Pilot, "Laguna Beach calls on a third herd of goats to eat up dry brush," 28 Aug. 2019 Paradise was gutted in November when the Camp Fire scorched more than 150,000 acres and burned down nearly every building in the town, about 19,000 structures. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Helix, Padre Dam water district workers back from Paradise," 27 Aug. 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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Learn More about scorch

Statistics for scorch

Last Updated

12 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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