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

Step 2 For the salad: Toast the pumpkin seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned, shaking the pan to avoid scorching. Sarah Henry, Washington Post, "Here’s a Mexican salad so good, it’s named for the chef’s madre," 27 June 2019 Note: Toast the pine nuts in a large, dry skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes until fragrant and lightly browned, shaking the pan occasionally to avoid scorching. Joe Yonan, Twin Cities, "Cook broccoli longer and it becomes as comforting as this bowl of pasta," 20 June 2019 Californians were urged to conserve electricity Tuesday in an effort to help reduce strain on the electric grid as a record-busting heat wave continued to scorch the state. J.d. Morris,, "Californians urged to conserve electricity during heat wave," 11 June 2019 Stafford grad Ryan Martin, Seven Lakes grad Lance Broome, North Little Rock grad Kennedy Lightner and Strake Jesuit grad Matthew Boling scorched the track for a meet-record 39.05 seconds in the boys 400-meter relay. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Boling, Broome, Martin team up for record race," 18 June 2019 Intense heat has scorched the country for more than 30 consecutive days, primarily in northern and central India. Faiz Akthar And Emily Dixon, CNN, "At least 36 people dead in one of India's longest heatwaves," 14 June 2019 Although Florida summer days can be scorching, there are a number of family-friendly outdoor activities that can still be enjoyed this summer. Patrick Connolly,, "School’s out: How to have fun and get the kids away from screens this summer," 10 June 2019 Land Apart form affecting humans, the Chernobyl accident also scorched the land around it., "How Chernobyl, the Biggest Nuclear Disaster in History, Still Affects Ukraine 33 Years Later," 4 June 2019 Mauricio Martínez, who played Emilio at the end of the New York run, possesses a tenor capable of soft introspection or ceiling-scorching power. Daryl H. Miller,, "Review: 'On Your Feet!,' the Gloria and Emilio Estefan story, sets rhythms in irresistible motion," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 missile firings might leave minor scorch marks or fouling on the Lubeck’s paint job, but the ship looks pristine. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Why Does This German Frigate Have Drone “Kill Marks”?," 27 Aug. 2018 Summer nights in the 70s seem part of the silent bargain many of us make with Washington weather, tolerating the inevitable sweat and scorch of the day in return for a bit of respite after dark. Martin Weil, Washington Post, "Washington saw days of swelter this week; the nights were pretty warm too," 6 July 2018 Bourdain clearly operates with all six burners on scorch, and the result keeps the reader excited. Deirdre Donahue, USA TODAY, "Our review: Anthony Bourdain's 'Kitchen Confidential' captured restaurants' demented glory," 8 June 2018 Though the prequels certainly felt some of its scorch, this is the first Star Wars trilogy to truly contend with the full force of the Internet’s attention. Joanna Robinson, HWD, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," 17 Dec. 2017 Chile brings an insistent thrust to every dish, sometimes a scorch and quick retreat, sometimes a steady radiance. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, "Tastes That Are Distinctly Bangladeshi in Queens," 26 Oct. 2017 Stir tomatoes frequently so mixture does not scorch on bottom. Mary G. Pepitone, kansascity, "Sweet, savory homemade ketchup a legacy of love | The Kansas City Star," 24 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The mayhem at the government headquarters, which ended in barrages of police tear gas, capped a day in which 550,000 demonstrators marched peacefully through the streets in scorching summer heat, according to organizer estimates. ... Jon Emont, WSJ, "Hong Kong Protests Boil Over After Activists Occupy Legislature," 2 July 2019 Ocean View’s Jack Junker was hit by a pitch leading off the top of the first, and Matt Haidl followed by scorching a ball to the right side. Matt Szabo,, "Costa Mesa American Little League tops Ocean View for District 62 Tournament of Champions Major title," 15 June 2019 In Japan, shou sugi ban refers to a traditional craft of preserving wood by scorching it with flames and finishing the charred slabs with oil, which blackens and then fireproofs the timber. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, "Shou Sugi Ban House Review: First In," 11 June 2019 Schwarber followed that by scorching a double to right. Teddy Greenstein,, "Down 4 runs before their first at-bat, the Cubs rally for a thunderous 9-4 victory over Cardinals," 8 June 2019 Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on the outside of the bread (this will keep it from scorching on the griddle). Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, "It’s National Grilled Cheese Day. Enjoy these takes on the old classic.," 12 Apr. 2019 The most destructive wildfire in state history was well on its way to scorching more than 36,000 acres and destroying 5,636 structures. Lizzie Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, "Santa Rosa shops survived the wildfires, but aftermath leaves them struggling," 23 Apr. 2018 And any poults that did result from rare successful nests faced a dry landscape that was lacking abundant insects for forage and grasses or other vegetation for cover from predators and Texas’ scorching summer sun. Shannon Tompkins,, "Texas turkeys thriving after mild, wet spring," 8 June 2019 The blaze burning for more than a week has scorched 155 square miles (400 square kilometers) and destroyed 723 homes. Fox News, "The Latest: Northern California fire destroys 800-plus homes," 30 July 2018

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

6 Jul 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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