Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To burn superficially so as to discolor or damage the texture of. See Synonyms at burn1.
  • transitive v. To wither or parch with intense heat.
  • transitive v. To destroy (land and buildings) by or as if by fire so as to leave nothing salvageable to an enemy army.
  • transitive v. To subject to severe censure; excoriate.
  • intransitive v. To become scorched or singed.
  • intransitive v. To go or move at a very fast, often excessively fast rate.
  • n. A slight or surface burn.
  • n. A discoloration caused by heat.
  • n. Brown spotting on plant leaves caused by fungi, heat, or lack of water.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A slight or surface burn.
  • n. A discolouration caused by heat.
  • n. Brown discoloration on the leaves of plants caused by heat, lack of water or by fungi.
  • v. To burn the surface of something so as to discolour it
  • v. To wither, parch or destroy something by heat or fire, especially to make land or buildings unusable to an enemy
  • v. To become scorched or singed
  • v. To move at high speed (so as to leave scorch marks on the ground)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To be burnt on the surface; to be parched; to be dried up.
  • intransitive v. To burn or be burnt.
  • intransitive v. To ride or drive at great, usually at excessive, speed; -- applied chiefly to automobilists and bicyclists. [Colloq.]
  • transitive v. To burn superficially; to parch, or shrivel, the surface of, by heat; to subject to so much heat as changes color and texture without consuming.
  • transitive v. To affect painfully with heat, or as with heat; to dry up with heat; to affect as by heat.
  • transitive v. To burn; to destroy by, or as by, fire.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To burn superficially; subject to a degree of heat that changes the color, or both the color and the texture, of the surface; parch or shrivel up the surface of by heat; singe.
  • To burn or consume, as by the direct application of fire.
  • To give the sensation of burning; affect with a sensation or an effect similar to that produced by burning; figuratively, to attack with caustic invective or sarcasm.
  • Synonyms Scorch, Singe, Sear, Char. Parch. To scorch is to burn superficially or slightly, but so as to change the color or injure the texture; sometimes, from the common effect of heat, the word suggests shriveling or curling, but not generally. Singe is one degree more external than scorch; we speak of singeing the hair and scorching the skin; a fowl is singed to remove the hairs after plucking out the feathers. Sear has primary reference to drying, but more commonly to hardening, by heat, as by cauterization; hence its figurative use, as when we speak of seared sensibilities, a seared conscience, heat not being thought of as a part of the figure. To char is to reduce to carbon or a black cinder, especially on the surface: when a timber is charred it is burned black on the outside and to an uncertain depth. Parch has a possible meaning of burning superficially or roasting, as in parched corn or peanuts, but almost always refers to drying or shriveling.
  • To be burned on the surface; become parched or dried up.
  • To ride very fast on a bicycle or in a motor-car.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. burn slightly and superficially so as to affect color
  • n. a surface burn
  • v. destroy completely by or as if by fire
  • v. make very hot and dry
  • n. a discoloration caused by heat
  • v. become scorched or singed under intense heat or dry conditions
  • v. become superficially burned
  • n. a plant disease that produces a browning or scorched appearance of plant tissues

Etymologies

Middle English scorchen, possibly of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skorpna, to shrink, be shriveled.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Perhaps from Old Norse skorpna ("to shrivel up"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Thus reflecting sagely, he kept his eyes on his plate and did justice to the fare; for one cannot scorch from the Cliff House to the Western Addition via the park without being guilty of a healthy appetite.

    Chapter II

  • Except for a few tell-tale spots of "scorch" marking the back of her new dress, from her appearance Tavia might never have been suspected of being the heroine of a railroad accident.

    Dorothy Dale : a girl of today

  • Looking at where the Yorkshire / Lancashire border cuts through Todmorden Cricket Ground I am sure that you can make out the 'scorch' marks in the earth where the original hedge or ditch marking the boundary used to be.

    Chris & Glynis Abbott

  • HURRICANE - Three days ago after a tough loss at Winfield, Hurricane coach Dwayne Sowards predicted that if his team got hot shooting, it could "scorch" somebody.

    The Charleston Gazette -

  • So global warming is just a natural occurrence when you believe all the hogwash in the Christian Bible or hell, in the Book of the Moron Mormons, or hell, in the Koran...you name one of those holy books, they all say the same thing: the world will end one day because it will burn up, as George Gamov explained in his book The Death of the Sun, because right before the Sun goes dark, it expands to a tremendous heat, so hot it finallys blows to all Hell and the heat emitted by the blow up will certainly "scorch" the earth, as predicted by the Christian bible--you even heard of "the scorched earth" policy?

    This World Is NOW HELL

  • It was going to scorch the area for ten miles around and spread radioactive fallout even farther.

    The Omega Theory

  • Then, between all the scorch marks and gouges, she saw something different: a few words of text that seemed to have been tattooed on to the fabric, or else burned with a much finer … a much finer what?

    The Priest

  • His subsequent breakdown — and remarkably quick recovery — allowed him to go down in flames, and scorch the earth behind him.

    Cheers & Jeers: Survivor Redeems Itself

  • I'm assuming the scorch marks referred to by Charlie are caused by the SRB separation motors.

    Today's Video - External Tank Falling to Earth in HD - NASA Watch

  • The scorch marks on the intertank are caused by the SRB separation motors.

    Today's Video - External Tank Falling to Earth in HD - NASA Watch

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