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

The online food-delivery war is officially scorching hot, and cash burns are scarring balance sheets across the playing field. Laura Forman, WSJ, "Grubhub Won’t Fizzle as Competitors Sizzle," 26 Apr. 2019 But this was not the case over this Easter weekend, which spoiled us Brits with wonderfully sunny skies, scorching temperatures, and lazy life down by the river. Vogue, "An Easter Weekend in the English Countryside With Alice Naylor-Leyland," 22 Apr. 2019 Go right ahead and don’t stir your soup — no scorching here. Betty Gold, Good Housekeeping, "5 Best Ceramic Cookware Sets to Buy in 2019, According to Kitchen Product Experts," 1 Mar. 2019 To further scorch the burger’s name, PETA made the dubious suggestion that the burger could increase risks of cancer in consumers. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "PETA roasts Impossible Burger for rat tests, suggests patties cause cancer," 11 Aug. 2018 Often employing its heat to scorch patterns onto paper, fabric and wood, Mr. Cole creates art that evokes African masks, slave ships, tribal shields and other imagery. Laurel Graeber, New York Times, "9 Things to Do With Your Kids in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 5 July 2018 The Pawnee Fire, fueled by high winds and triple-digit temperatures, has gone on to scorch more than 13,000 acres and destroy at least 22 homes and other structures since breaking out June 23 from an unknown source. Jim Carlton, WSJ, "Giant Wildfires Become Way Of Life in One Northern California County," 1 July 2018 Turn the chicken and continue to cook, undisturbed, until second side is browned, about 5 minutes longer, adjusting the heat if the fond threatens to scorch., "Recipes: Comforting old-fashioned chicken and spring peas for dinner," 9 June 2018 Stir and cook for 5 minutes, being careful not to scorch. San Antonio Express-News, "Recipe: Jake’s Mistake Sauce," 4 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 City dwellers will have a difficult time seeing anything but the brightest scorches of light. Neel V. Patel, Slate Magazine, "Treat Yourself to a Meteor Shower," 20 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The online food-delivery war is officially scorching hot, and cash burns are scarring balance sheets across the playing field. Laura Forman, WSJ, "Grubhub Won’t Fizzle as Competitors Sizzle," 26 Apr. 2019 The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Tuesday the blaze burning in Mendocino, Lake and Colusa counties has scorched 378 square miles (979 square kilometers). Fox News, "The Latest: Largest wildfire in California history grows," 7 Aug. 2018 Emerging from buses into the scorching sun, about 150 undocumented immigrants just released from federal custody huddled behind the bus terminal. Todd Heisler, New York Times, "A Long Journey North for Migrants That May End Where It Started," 30 June 2018 Potential for scorching summer conditions has always concerned organizers, with temperatures in central Tokyo often exceeding 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) in July and August, made more difficult because of high humidity. Jim Armstrong, The Seattle Times, "The 2020 Olympics will open in 2 years, and the heat is on," 24 July 2018 On Sunday, a few hundred of Mr. Guaidó’s supporters were waiting for him under scorching heat in front of a school here in this coastal town facing the Caribbean Sea, about an hour’s drive from the capital, Caracas. Kejal Vyas And Ginette Gonzalez, WSJ, "Venezuela Opposition Leader Detained, Then Released," 13 Jan. 2019 The blaze is largely out of control after scorching more than 6 square miles (16 square kilometers) of dry brush in on the park's western edge. Fox News, "The Latest: Crews to try again to get body of firefighter," 15 July 2018 Fueled by scorching heat and strong winds, several brush fires encircled San Diego County on Friday, incinerating multiple structures and forcing the evacuation of 2,400 people. Karen Pearlman,, "Brush fires fueled by high heat, winds slam San Diego County," 7 July 2018 In a devastating turn of fate, some of the areas scorched by fires last year were hit by massive flooding early this year. Umair Irfan, Vox, "What we learned from the disasters that hammered the US in 2018," 27 Dec. 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

25 May 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

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).


a strong desire or propensity

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