scour

1 of 3

verb (1)

scoured; scouring; scours

transitive verb

1
a
: to rub hard especially with a rough material for cleansing
b
: to remove by rubbing hard and washing
2
archaic : to clear (a region) of enemies or outlaws
3
: to clean by purging : purge
4
: to remove dirt and debris from (something, such as a pipe or ditch)
5
: to free from foreign matter or impurities by or as if by washing
scour wool
6
: to clear, dig, or remove by or as if by a powerful current of water

intransitive verb

1
: to perform a process of scouring
2
: to suffer from diarrhea or dysentery
3
: to become clean and bright by rubbing
scourer noun

scour

2 of 3

noun

1
: a place scoured by running water
2
: scouring action (as of a glacier)
3
: diarrhea, dysentery
usually used in plural but singular or plural in construction
4
: scouring sense 1
also : damage done by scouring action

scour

3 of 3

verb (2)

scoured; scouring; scours

intransitive verb

: to move about quickly especially in search

transitive verb

: to go through or range over in or as if in a search

Did you know?

It doesn’t require much scouring of our website to see that there are two distinct scour verbs in English. One has meanings relating to cleaning and washing away; that scour, which dates back to at least the early 14th century, probably comes from the Late Latin excurare, meaning “to clean off.” (A related noun scour refers to the action of this type of scouring, or to places that have been scoured, as by running water.) The other verb scour appeared a century earlier, and may come from the Old Norse skūr, meaning “shower.” (Skūr is also distantly related to the Old English scūr, the ancestor of our English word shower.) Many different things can be scoured, such as an area (as in “scoured the woods in search of the lost dog”) or publications (as in “scouring magazine and newspaper articles”).

Examples of scour in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
For the latest, scour the interactive eclipse map from The Eclipse Company and National Eclipse’s Eclipse Events page. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 18 Feb. 2024 The machine learning software scoured live CCTV footage to spot aggressive behavior, weapons being brandished, and people dodging fares. Andy Greenberg Dhruv Mehrotra, WIRED, 10 Feb. 2024 At the risk of losing custody to Jax’s father, Frank (Shea Whigham), Jax and Roki hit the road and scour the backcountry to track down Roki’s mother in time for the powwow that Roki has been preparing for. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Feb. 2024 Mike Elias said he’s spoken with all 29 other teams in Major League Baseball, scouring the market for any available starting pitchers to round out the Orioles’ rotation. Sam Cohn, Baltimore Sun, 27 Jan. 2024 Working in 36-hour shifts, the 16-person crew used an underwater autonomous vehicle equipped with sonar to scour the sea floor, scanning roughly 5,200 total square miles. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Jan. 2024 Photograph: Manuel Romano/Getty Images The Norwegian Parliament voted this week to allow companies to scour its territorial waters for mining opportunities. Eliza Gkritsi, WIRED, 12 Jan. 2024 Futures trading doesn't necessarily predict where stocks head at the opening bell, although the major indexes gained Wednesday as investors prepared to scour Thursday's inflation data for clues on when the Federal Reserve will start lowering interest rates. Harold Maass, The Week Us, theweek, 11 Jan. 2024 As such, Black women see their credentials relentlessly attacked, their characters impugned, their lives scoured. Charles Blow, The Mercury News, 9 Jan. 2024
Noun
Rinse the potatoes under running water, scrubbing with a clean scour pad or produce brush to remove any dirt or debris. Zoe Denenberg, Bon Appétit, 17 Oct. 2023 Stick to the gentler blue scour pads, or the scrubby side of your sponge, or a Scrub Daddy/Mommy. Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, 16 Nov. 2020 But the trace fossils—scrapes and scours in the rock—reveal the shape and behavior of animals that lived millions of years before the dinosaurs. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Mar. 2023 Again, when the cold air scours out of the region is key to determining what type of precipitation Portland will see. oregonlive, 24 Feb. 2023 Initially the city’s lakefront included a gravel parking lot, large stones and rip rap — stones and materials intentionally placed to help protect shoreline structures against scour and water, wave or ice erosion. Carrie Napoleon, chicagotribune.com, 4 June 2021 Stick to the gentler blue scour pads, the scrubby side of your sponge, or a Scrub Daddy/Mommy. Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, 10 Feb. 2023 This complicated system is meant to prevent scour (erosion) of the landscape and flooding that can endanger homes. Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post, 23 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'scour.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb (1)

Middle English, probably from Middle Dutch schuren, from Old French escurer, from Late Latin excurare to clean off, from Latin, to take good care of, from ex- + curare to care for, from cura care

Verb (2)

Middle English scuren, skouren, probably from scour, noun, (in phrase god scour quickly), perhaps from Old Norse skūr shower; akin to Old English scūr shower — more at shower

First Known Use

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

1681, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of scour was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near scour

Cite this Entry

“Scour.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scour. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

scour

1 of 3 verb
1
: to move about or through quickly especially in search
scoured the woods for the missing child
2
: to examine thoroughly and rapidly
scoured the legal documents

scour

2 of 3 verb
1
a
: to rub hard with something rough in order to clean
b
: to remove by rubbing hard and washing
scour spots from the stove
2
: to free from foreign substances or impurities by or as if by washing
3
: to wear away (as by water) : erode
a stream scouring its banks
scourer noun

scour

3 of 3 noun
: an action or result of scouring

Medical Definition

scour

1 of 2 intransitive verb
of a domestic animal
: to suffer from diarrhea or dysentery
a diet causing cattle to scour

scour

2 of 2 noun
: diarrhea or dysentery occurring especially in young domestic animals
usually used in plural but singular or plural in construction

More from Merriam-Webster on scour

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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