Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To burn superficially so as to discolor or damage the texture of. synonym: burn.
  • intransitive verb To dry out or wither with intense heat.
  • intransitive verb To destroy (land and buildings) by fire or military action so as to leave nothing salvageable to an enemy army.
  • intransitive verb To subject to severe censure; excoriate.
  • intransitive verb To become scorched or singed.
  • intransitive verb To go or move at a very fast, often excessively fast rate.
  • noun A slight or surface burn.
  • noun Brown spotting on plant leaves caused by pathogens, heat, or lack of water.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

  • intransitive verb To be burnt on the surface; to be parched; to be dried up.
  • intransitive verb To burn or be burnt.
  • intransitive verb To ride or drive at great, usually at excessive, speed; -- applied chiefly to automobilists and bicyclists. [Colloq.]
  • transitive verb 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 verb To affect painfully with heat, or as with heat; to dry up with heat; to affect as by heat.
  • transitive verb To burn; to destroy by, or as by, fire.

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

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Middle English scorchen, possibly of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skorpna, to shrink, be shriveled.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Perhaps from Old Norse skorpna ("to shrivel up").

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

  • 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 -

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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