\ ˈskərj How to pronounce scourge (audio) , ˈskȯrj, ˈsku̇rj \

Definition of scourge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : whip especially : one used to inflict pain or punishment
2 : an instrument of punishment or criticism
3 : a cause of wide or great affliction


scourged; scourging

Definition of scourge (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : flog, whip
2a : to punish severely
c : to drive as if by blows of a whip

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Other Words from scourge


scourger noun

Synonyms for scourge

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of scourge in a Sentence

Noun a city ravaged by the scourge of unemployment The disease continues to be a scourge in the developing world. Verb a neighborhood scourged by crime The prisoner was scourged with a whip.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Under mounting public pressure to increase transparency, more states are now releasing information about the scourge of the coronavirus on nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Marisa Kwiatkowski, USA TODAY, "‘Our patients are dropping like flies’: 16,000 dead from COVID-19 in U.S. nursing homes," 1 May 2020 Schools throughout the country are still dealing with the scourge of racist threats. Moriah Balingit, Washington Post, "‘A tale of two schools’: At Georgia Southern, a book-burning ignites questions anew about race," 31 Dec. 2019 In less than four years, Trump has brought the Freedom Caucus, a group of strict House conservatives who have been a scourge to Republican leadership, to heel. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "Trump's clout hangs in balance as White House grapples with coronavirus," 2 Apr. 2020 Of course, even people who aren’t socialists are scourges of the industry. Rich Lowry, National Review, "Only the ‘Crooks’ Can Save Us Now," 20 Mar. 2020 Ticks and fleas are the scourge of dogs and dog owners everywhere. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Nine Ways to Protect Your Dog from Ticks and Fleas," 3 Mar. 2020 But violence against guards is also a scourge of the Mississippi system, an investigation by The Marshall Project found. USA Today, "Not enough guards, too many inmates: Mississippi prisons a perilous place to work," 20 Feb. 2020 Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch Food allergens are the scourge of the modern school lunchbox. Dwan Price, Quartz, "Why peanuts are so much worse than other allergies," 18 Dec. 2019 Governments warned that the hard-won gains against the scourge must not be jeopardized by relaxing social distancing over the weekend. Anchorage Daily News, "US job losses surge as world leaders urge Easter distancing," 10 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Prior to Christ's crucifixion, Roman soldiers ordered him to be scourged. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, "Passion of the Christ actor says injuries he suffered on set made film 'beautiful'," 23 Mar. 2020 Yet what’s most original in the film is Mercier’s scathing and self-scourging performance (and there’s no gainsaying the importance of Yoav’s outfit, a collarless saffron-yellow coat). Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Preview: Highlights from the First Week of the New York Film Festival," 26 Sep. 2019 After a wet few years in the Great Lakes basin, the Lake Michigan water levels tied a record July high from 1986 — and that’s less than six years after record low levels scourged the region in 2013. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The water levels on Lake Michigan tied a 33-year-old record high this July. Boaters are seeing the effects," 5 Aug. 2019 Powerful air armadas scourged German defenses, with 750 to 1000 Flying Fortresses and Liberators mauling bridges, railroad targets and airfields in an arc 100 to 150 miles south of the beachhead. Houston Chronicle, "FIRST INVASION GOAL REACHED," 9 June 2019 Since then, as The Los Angeles Times reported, the resulting blaze had scorched 121,000 acres, destroyed 1,564 buildings, killed six, and scourged the city of Redding and the surrounding area, a little over 200 miles north of San Francisco. Lauren Young, Teen Vogue, "California Wildfires Are Proof of Climate Change, According to Governor Jerry Brown," 2 Aug. 2018 From their first dogfights in December 1941 until their contracts expired in July 1942, the Tigers scourged the enemy with breathtaking courage. Gregory Crouch, WSJ, "‘The Flying Tigers’ and ‘A Few Planes for China’ Review: Tigers Over a Rising Sun," 19 July 2018 The single-use plastic straw — colorful, functional and handed out in bunches — has suddenly shifted from consumer staple to scourge, projected by some critics to foul ecosystems for an eon. Robert Channick,, "From a South Side plastics factory to McDonald's HQ, Chicago is on the front lines of anti-straw push," 11 June 2018 There also will be a scourging pillar, a Roman lance, and a life-size corpus on the cross that portrays a dramatic scene, as well as various other items of that time. Joanne Berger Dumound/special To,, "Local lecturer brings world class Shroud of Turin exhibit to Greater Cleveland," 19 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scourge.' 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 scourge


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for scourge


Middle English, from Anglo-French escorge, from escorger to whip, from Vulgar Latin *excorrigiare, from Latin ex- + corrigia thong, whip

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Time Traveler for scourge

Time Traveler

The first known use of scourge was in the 13th century

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Statistics for scourge

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scourge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for scourge


How to pronounce scourge (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of scourge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal + literary : someone or something that causes a great amount of trouble or suffering
: a whip that was used to punish people in the past



English Language Learners Definition of scourge (Entry 2 of 2)

formal + literary
: to cause a lot of trouble or suffering for (someone or something)
: to hit (someone) with a whip as punishment


\ ˈskərj How to pronounce scourge (audio) \

Kids Definition of scourge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a cause of widespread or great suffering The disease is a scourge in rural areas.


scourged; scourging

Kids Definition of scourge (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to cause trouble or suffering to : afflict Crime scourges the neighborhood.
2 : to whip severely : flog

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More from Merriam-Webster on scourge

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scourge

Spanish Central: Translation of scourge

Nglish: Translation of scourge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scourge for Arabic Speakers

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