\ 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 Sleep apnea, a scourge of older adults, is marked by repetitive episodes of upper airway obstruction throughout the night, causing snoring, interrupted breathing, and spiking blood pressure., "“Our lifestyle is disrupting our sleep,” said Dr. Sanford Auerbach, director of Boston Medical Center’s sleep disorders center. “For older people, sleep is more fragile.”," 1 Nov. 2019 There’s still so much to be learned about the consequences of our ubiquitous plastics scourge, say scientists studying the Arctic. Cheryl Katz, National Geographic, "Why does the Arctic have more plastic than most places on Earth?," 30 Oct. 2019 Speaking of scourges, a phishing campaign has hit the Red Cross, UNICEF, the UN, and more. Wired, "Security News This Week: Rudy Giuliani Butt-Dialed a Reporter (Twice!)," 26 Oct. 2019 But for many progressive intellectuals, by contrast, flamenco—along with its twin scourge, bullfighting—was thought to keep Spaniards in a stranglehold of backwardness. Sandie Holguín, Smithsonian, "The Complicated History of Flamenco in Spain," 24 Oct. 2019 The church where his father preached still stands; Nietzsche, the scourge of Christianity, is buried in a plot next to the building. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Nietzsche’s Eternal Return," 7 Oct. 2019 Robocall relief Robocalls are a scourge, and carriers and phone manufacturers are still struggling with the best ways to minimize the automated spam calls. Heather Kelly, Washington Post, "Dark Mode is coming to the iPhone in iOS 13, but its privacy features may be its biggest changes," 19 Sep. 2019 Invasive pests, which are also on the rise because of human activity, are another scourge of big trees, Songlin Fei, a forest ecologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, has found. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Sturdy as they are, giant trees are particularly susceptible to these three killers," 4 Sep. 2019 Bad bosses may be a scourge, but a truly dysfunctional workplace is almost always a group effort. Chris Woolston, Quartz at Work, "How to deal with an abusive boss," 29 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Any progressive politician who wants to gain power has to find common interests with some of them, without waiting for the day of reckoning first to scourge white Americans of their original sin. Rosa Inocencio Smith, The Atlantic, "The Atlantic Daily: Mission and Missile," 15 Sep. 2017

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

12 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Scourge.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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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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