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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Within three minutes of the volcanic eruption, the lateral blast, which traveled at more than 300 miles per hour, scorched 230 square miles of forest. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "40 years ago today, Mount St. Helens erupted," 18 May 2020 Mated to a slick-shifting electronic four-speed automatic (the only transmission offered), our T-5R wagon scorched to 60 mph in just 6.7 seconds—three-tenths quicker than our last 850 Turbo wagon. Arthur St. Antoine, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1995 Volvo 850 T-5R," 18 May 2020 The Texans scorched Democrats for blocking an earlier and slightly smaller version of the rescue package on Sunday night. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "$2 trillion stimulus bill stalled as senators squabble over unemployment benefits," 25 Mar. 2020 The Australian bush fires, while large in geographic scale (about twice the size of Maryland) have mostly scorched national parks and sparsely populated country area. Washington Post, "In the wake of bush fires, hunger-relief efforts mobilize in Australia," 17 Jan. 2020 Fires have scorched swaths of the country since September. Editors, USA TODAY, "Australian wildfires, wolf moon, '1917' premieres nationwide: 5 things to know Friday," 11 Jan. 2020 For summer relief, the shade of a brushy canopy can block some of the heat and scorching light from the hot summer sun. Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, "9 Natural Shelters that will Save Your Life," 16 Jan. 2020 Australia’s massive bushfires, which were contained in mid-February and declared over in early March, left eucalypt forests scorched and the ground, too dry to absorb the following rainfall. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Australia’s Wilderness Is Recovering From Wildfires," 23 Mar. 2020 The examination began as the blazes were still scorching forests and blanketing cities in smoke, impacting some of the researchers involved in the work. Andrea Thompson, Scientific American, "Yes, Climate Change Did Influence Australia’s Unprecedented Bushfires," 4 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But black scorch marks above the grate revealed fires that had once burned in it. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The 1830s Cothren House cabin in Mineral Point is great for a cozy winter getaway," 13 Feb. 2020 As the sun rose, close-up views showed the large white and black capsule upright with hardly any scorch marks from re-entry. Marcia Dunn,, "Boeing capsule returns after aborted space mission," 22 Dec. 2019 Early Monday, few remnants of the fire could be seen from the outside besides some scorch and charring marks on the section of the building where the fire is believed to have started, and an adjacent mini-mart. George Kelly, The Mercury News, "Suspected sex toy shop arsonist had been recently evicted from building: authorities," 15 Sep. 2019 Photographer Rus Khasanov scorches, bleaches, freezes, and rips apart old discs. Laura Mallonee, Wired, "The Psychedelic Beauty of Destroyed CDs," 18 Dec. 2019 That floor, Martin said, is both the original floor that Catherine walked on during her reign and the one on which Nazi soldiers built a fire during World War II, as evidenced by scorch marks. Julia Jacobs, New York Times, "Helen Mirren Plays Catherine II in the Years That Made Her ‘the Great’," 21 Oct. 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There wouldn't be any direct danger to life on earth, but ultraviolet radiation from the celestial blast could scorch ozone in our atmosphere. Ryan Prior, CNN, "A giant red star is acting weird and scientists think it may be about to explode," 26 Dec. 2019 As spring ended and summer scorched in, the camp was reaching a boiling point. Louisa Loveluck, Washington Post, "Bint Fatma is one of tens of thousands who flocked to the caliphate, but their home countries are bitterly conflicted about whether to take them back," 23 Dec. 2019 Thanks to their stainless steel interior and exterior, these containers are designed to keep your food and beverages toasty without scorching your hands. Kelsey Mulvey, Popular Mechanics, "Amazon’s Having a Sale on Thermos Tumblers, Bottles, and Jars for Fall," 14 Oct. 2019 That video went viral in the best way both for its intensely challenging choreography and its scorching hot sexiness. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Jenna Dewan Shares Some of Her Hottest Dance Videos in Honor of National Dance Day," 28 July 2019 High winds and dry conditions fed the blazes that burned dozens of buildings and scorched over 2,500 acres. NBC News, "Florida panhandle wildfires cause over 1K homes evacuated," 7 May 2020 The governor issued the order after scolding beachgoers that packed some shores in the state during scorching temperatures last weekend. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "More than half of the country goes into first weekend with loosened coronavirus restrictions," 2 May 2020 Southern California’s first heat wave of the year brought scorching temperatures and a test of public health policies. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Essential California Week in Review: Shifting timelines," 25 Apr. 2020 In the hands of director Justin Kurzel (Macbeth), the colonial outback has perhaps never felt this alien or remote on screen, all scorched landscapes and dead trees white and brittle as bone. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to stream (and skip) on HBO and Apple TV+ this weekend," 24 Apr. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about scorch

Time Traveler for scorch

Time Traveler

The first known use of scorch was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for scorch

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scorch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on scorch

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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