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

  • transitive v. To make shallow cuts in (the skin), as when vaccinating.
  • transitive v. To create a design on (the skin) by means of shallow cuts that are sometimes rubbed with a colorant or irritant to enhance the resulting scar tissue.
  • transitive v. To break up the surface of (topsoil or pavement).
  • transitive v. To distress deeply, as with severe criticism; lacerate.
  • transitive v. Botany To slit or soften the outer coat of (seeds) in order to speed germination.
  • transitive v. To scare.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To scar.
  • v. Denude, or lay waste to.
  • v. To remove thatch (build-up of organic matter on the soil) from a lawn, to de-thatch.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To scratch or cut the skin of; esp. (Med.), to make small incisions in, by means of a lancet or scarificator, so as to draw blood from the smaller vessels without opening a large vein.
  • transitive v. To stir the surface soil of, as a field.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In surgery, to scratch or make superficial incisions in: as, to scarify the gums.
  • To stir up and prepare for sowing or planting by means of a scarifier: as, to scarify the soil.
  • Figuratively, to harrow or rasp, as the feelings.

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

  • v. break up
  • v. scratch the surface of
  • v. puncture and scar (the skin), as for purposes or tribal identification or rituals


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

Middle English scarifien, from Old French scarifier, from Late Latin scarīficāre, alteration of Latin scarīfāre, from Greek skarīphāsthai, to sketch, scratch, from skarīphos, pencil, stylus.


  • I first learned about cassowaries when I was at the School for Field Studies SFS Center for Rainforest Studies in Fall of 1990 as a college student, and was fascinated that they're the only bird that can "scarify" certain rainforest seeds.

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  • I really do not understand how senator Hillary can say she is for the people when she is coming with this when the result is to save $ 30.00 per diver you have to scarify 3000, 0000 jobs.

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  • Bledri ap Rhys had come to Saint Asaph intending mischief, threatening mischief, and the cost had fallen on his own head, but the echoes would spread outward like ripples from a stone flung into a pool, and scarify the lives of all here until murder was paid for.

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  • What struck me most, after this long passage of time, is what we deem “permissible” on the screen today: We can — with impunity — rape, skewer, torture, vilify, scarify, plunge fangs into carotid arteries, sodomize…women can reveal frontal nudity within a half-inch of genitalia; men can stand frontally nude with only a hand cupped over the thingy…but only frontal.

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  • It's one thing to poke fun at a badly rendered tattoo, but quite another to say that it is stupid to tattoo, pierce, or scarify your body.

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  • They are poor, numerous, and pregnant; if they work, it is to little purpose; their religions span a simple spectrum from witchcraft to wrath, and their societies alternate between tyranny and chaos; they beat their wives, scarify their daughters, and occasionally eat their enemies; they have never read (if they can read) a book that was not holy, or heard a piece of music unrelated to copulation.

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  • Bill Clinton, similarly, knew the power of charm and was not, IIRC, one to try to scarify opponents verbally in public.

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  • It is very dangerous to cut off or scarify enlarged uvulae while they and red and large, for inflammations and hemorrhages supervene; but one should try to reduce such swellings by some other means at this season.

    The Book Of Prognostics

  • But blood is to be abstracted, especially the from the veins, which are the seat of the influx, if they be conspicuous; but if not, deeper and more numerous scarifications are to be made in the swellings; and whatever part you scarify, this is to be done with the sharpest and most slender instruments of iron.

    On Ulcers

  • Circular ulcers, if somewhat hollow, you must scarify all along their edges, or to the extent of half the circle, according to the natural stature of the man.

    On Ulcers


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