\ 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
b : afflict
c : to drive as if by blows of a whip
d : chastise

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The scourge of syphilis Unlike many ethically questionable research projects, the Tuskegee study was notable because it wasn't done in secret. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 5 May 2022 The former president has embarked on a campaign to warn that the scourge of online falsehoods has eroded the foundations of democracy. New York Times, 20 Apr. 2022 Nonetheless, drones have emerged as the scourge of the Russian army, which relies on tanks and artillery to sustain its offensive. Michael Peck, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 Giving homeless people a respite not only from Covid but from the many travails of street living, a glimmer of hope emerged from the viral scourge. Deborah Padgett, CNN, 11 Apr. 2022 Learn how to fight the scourge of unsolicited rings and pings from spammers, scammers, and telemarketers. Simon Hill, Wired, 12 Mar. 2022 Often marketed as a solution for small and mid-sized cannabis businesses, big tech companies can end up the scourge of regional industries. Evan Nison, Rolling Stone, 11 Mar. 2022 In the era in which they were developed, sanctions were viewed as a tool build a new international order, free from the scourge of international war. Washington Post, 25 Feb. 2022 Ransomware has become a scourge, tormenting organizations of all sizes, across almost all industries around the world. Tim Liu, Forbes, 18 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Of all the fearful diseases that scourge the human race, this ranks among those that are justly feared most. Mark Fischetti, Scientific American, 2 Nov. 2021 Prior to Christ's crucifixion, Roman soldiers ordered him to be scourged. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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,, 11 June 2018 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Scourge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for scourge


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on scourge

Nglish: Translation of scourge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scourge for Arabic Speakers


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