Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To harm or injure, especially by fire.
  • transitive verb To criticize or denounce severely; excoriate.
  • noun Harm or injury.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Harm; injury; damage; mischief.
  • noun Disadvantage; a matter of regret; a pity.
  • To injure; harm; hurt.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To do harm to; to injure; to damage; to waste; to destroy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb archaic To injure.
  • noun Harm; damage; injury; hurt; misfortune.

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

  • noun the act of damaging something or someone

Etymologies

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

[Middle English skathen, from Old Norse skadha.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English scathen, skathen, from Old English sceaþan, scaþan ("to scathe, hurt, harm, injure") and Old Norse skaða ("to hurt"); both from Proto-Germanic *skaþōnan (“to injure”). Cognate with Danish skade, German schaden, Swedish skada; compare Gothic 𐍃𐌺𐌰𐌸𐌾𐌰𐌽 (skaþjan), Old Norse skeðja ("to hurt"). Compare Ancient Greek ἀσκηθής (askēthēs, "unhurt"), Albanian shkathët ("skillful, adept, clever"), Polish skaleczyć ("to hurt, scathe").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English scathe, from Old English sceaþa (also sceaþu) ("scathe, harm, injury"), from Proto-Germanic *skaþô (“damage, scathe”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kēt- (“damage, harm”).

Examples

  • 'scathing satire' (does satire ever 'scathe'?) or Fielding's rough horseplay.

    Hours in a Library, Volume I. (of III.)

  • Oh, boy, is the letter that I write to Customer Service going to scathe.

    T-Mobile saga continues : Bev Vincent

  • The bootstrap callousness and sometimes-unnoticed regiment of ones outlook on life can easily scorn, ignore and sometimes even scathe the existence of those who are so heavily compromised.

    Page 2

  • People quote his scathe on the British intelligentsia, but forget that his attacks went beyond one, single quote or his two most famous books, Animal Farm and 1984.

    Those crazy intellectuals

  • If you wish to scathe Mexico, balance it with available blood curdling, statistics from your/our own US of A, provided below.

    Two Views of Mexico

  • For now men fell on them, and they defended themselves in good and manly wise, and were the scathe of many a man, nor would iron bite on them.

    The Story of the Volsungs

  • Now telleth the tale concerning the sons of Gudrun, that she had arrayed their war-raiment in such wise, that no steel would bite thereon; and she bade them play not with stones or other heavy matters, for that it would be to their scathe if they did so.

    The Story of the Volsungs

  • Oh, and most of the scathe in my post was fairly mild. chouinard and I tend to substitute perjoratives for ... everything, actually.

    Book Reviewer Backlash

  • He will come next by some scathe in the hobbleshow, and then it will be, ‘Dorothy, get the lint,’ and ‘Dorothy, spread the plaster;’ but now it is nothing but nonsense, and a lie, and impossibility, that can come out of

    The Fair Maid of Perth

  • Reviewers called it a scathing, devastating expose of the former centerfold and reality star, but frankly, it wasn't that hard to scathe and devastate.

    Gabriel Rotello: Anna Nicole and Daniel and Us

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