v. scorched, scorch·ing, scorch·es
1. To burn superficially so as to discolor or damage the texture of. See Synonyms at burn1.
2. To dry out or wither with intense heat: The sun scorched the plains.
3. To destroy (land and buildings) by fire or military action so as to leave nothing salvageable to an enemy army.
4. To subject to severe censure; excoriate.
1. To become scorched or singed.
2. To go or move at a very fast, often excessively fast rate.
1. A slight or surface burn.
2. Brown spotting on plant leaves caused by pathogens, heat, or lack of water.
[Middle English scorchen, possibly of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skorpna, to shrink, be shriveled.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
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