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

  • n. A mark left on the skin after a surface injury or wound has healed.
  • n. A lingering sign of damage or injury, either mental or physical: nightmares, anxiety, and other enduring scars of wartime experiences.
  • n. Botany A mark indicating a former attachment, as of a leaf to a stem.
  • n. A mark, such as a dent, resulting from use or contact.
  • transitive v. To mark with a scar.
  • transitive v. To leave lasting signs of damage on: a wretched childhood that scarred his psyche.
  • intransitive v. To form a scar: The pustule healed and scarred.
  • intransitive v. To become scarred: delicate skin that scars easily.
  • n. A protruding isolated rock.
  • n. A bare rocky place on a mountainside or other steep slope.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A permanent mark on the skin sometimes caused by the healing of a wound.
  • v. To mark the skin permanently
  • n. A cliff.
  • n. A rock in the sea breaking out from the surface of the water.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A mark in the skin or flesh of an animal, made by a wound or ulcer, and remaining after the wound or ulcer is healed; a cicatrix; a mark left by a previous injury; a blemish; a disfigurement.
  • n. A mark left upon a stem or branch by the fall of a leaf, leaflet, or frond, or upon a seed by the separation of its support. See Illust. under Axillary.
  • n. An isolated or protruding rock; a steep, rocky eminence; a bare place on the side of a mountain or steep bank of earth.
  • n. A marine food fish, the scarus, or parrot fish.
  • intransitive v. To form a scar.
  • transitive v. To mark with a scar or scars.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To mark with a scar or scars; hence, to wound or hurt.
  • To become scarred; form a scar.
  • Same as scare.
  • n. A mark in the skin or flesh made by a wound, burn, or ulcer, and remaining after the wound, burn, or ulcer is healed; a cicatrix.
  • n. Figuratively, any mark resulting from injury, material or moral.
  • n. A spot worn by long use, as by the limpet.
  • n. In botany, a mark on a stem or branch seen after the fall of a leaf, or on a seed after the separation of its stalk. See hilum.
  • n. In conchology, an impression left by the insertion of a muscle; a ciborium; an eye.
  • n. In entomology, a definite, often prominent, space on the anterior face of the mandibles of rhynchophorous beetles of the family Otiorhynchidæ.
  • n. In founding, a weak or imperfect place in a casting, due to some fault in the metal.
  • n. A naked, detached rock.
  • n. A cliff; a precipitous bank; a bare and broken place on the side of a hill or mountain.
  • n. The word enters into many place-names in Great Britain, as Scarborough, Scarcliff, etc.
  • n. A scaroid fish. See Scarus.
  • n. A manufacturers' name for lumps or cakes of imperfectly fused ferrous sulphid which form in the burning of iron pyrites in making sulphuric acid, due to an insufficient supply of air to the burners. The formation of scars involves waste of sulphur which fails to be fully burned off.

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

  • n. a mark left (usually on the skin) by the healing of injured tissue
  • v. mark with a scar
  • n. an indication of damage


Middle English, alteration of escare, from Old French, scab, from Late Latin eschara, from Greek eskhara, hearth, scab caused by burning.
Middle English skerre, from Old Norse sker, low reef.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Conflation of Old French escare ("scab") (from Late Latin eschara, from Ancient Greek ἐσχάρα (eskhara, "scab left from a burn")); and Middle English skar ("incision, cut, fissure") (from Old Norse skarð ("notch, chink, gap"), from Proto-Germanic *skardaz (“gap, cut, fragment”)). Akin to Old Norse skor ("notch, score"), Old English sceard ("gap, cut, notch"). More at shard. (Wiktionary)
From Old Norse sker. (Wiktionary)



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  • "Scars, perhaps, were the primal tattoos, marks of distinction that showed you had been tried and had survived the test. And like tattoos, they also fade, though the one from my surgery last summer is still a fierce and deep purple."
    —Dana Jennings, "Our Scars Tell the Stories of Our Lives," New York Times, July 20, 2009

    July 23, 2009