Definition of scorch in English:



  • 1with object Burn the surface of (something) with flame or heat.

    ‘surrounding houses were scorched by heat from the blast’
    • ‘The edged complex fire has scorched 38,000 acres so far and continues to grow.’
    • ‘She felt the hot rays of heat scorching her skin, yet she loved the sensation they gave her.’
    • ‘Her armour was scorched and burnt away in places, revealing blistered skin and burn wounds severe enough to make an experienced doctor wince.’
    • ‘His fighting gear was singed and tattered, and his face and exposed flesh was scorched.’
    • ‘They burned like acid, scorching a path wherever they brushed her pale skin.’
    • ‘They're making the most of the cooler weather in Southern California where a wildfire scorched more than 24,000 acres.’
    • ‘I could feel the heat surrounding me, burning me, scorching my skin, causing me to cry out wordlessly in pain.’
    • ‘The bright suns rays touched her sneakers, scorching them with fiery heat.’
    • ‘Shrubbery around the find was badly scorched from the attempt to set the bodies on fire.’
    • ‘I felt like I was walking in an endless desert, with the afternoon sun scorching my skin.’
    • ‘The Sun will become a red giant, still hot enough to burn planets to cinders as it engulfs Mercury and Venus and scorches Earth.’
    • ‘Nationwide, fires scorched 7.4 million acres, almost twice the 10-year average.’
    • ‘The heat scorched at her hair and the smoke burned her lungs after every breath.’
    • ‘The bombs blew up, burning the air and scorching my wings!’
    • ‘Closely following it was a blast of heat which scorched clothes, ignited buildings and set even the individual blades of grass on fire.’
    • ‘Like a moth to flame, heat scorched her flesh in his presence.’
    • ‘The water burnt him, he hoped it would be hot enough to scorch away his wickedness.’
    • ‘In addition, parching scorches off the long barbed ends of the chaff and destroys any detritus left after cleaning.’
    • ‘The sides of the spear-shaped entity were scorched by liquefying flames produced within the inner stomach of the wormhole.’
    • ‘A roar of laughter shot through the room and several flames scorched the ceiling.’
    burn, sear, singe, char, blacken, discolour
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    1. 1.1no object Become burned when exposed to heat or a flame.
      ‘the meat had scorched’
      • ‘Some of the newer carpets are quite sensitive to heat and scorch easily.’
      • ‘But all too often, rice on the stovetop boils over, scorches, or turns to mush, especially on slow-to-adjust electric stoves.’
      • ‘I dropped my sword in panic because I thought that my hands would scorch in the flames.’
      • ‘The hopeful buds of roses scorch before their time is come while disconsolate hens settle for a dry dust bath.’
      • ‘Some ovens run hotter than others, so check the meat fairly often to prevent scorching.’
      • ‘A press cloth over the fabric protects the fabric from melting or scorching and prevents the laminate from damaging the iron.’
      • ‘When the mixture just begins to scorch at the bottom, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.’
      • ‘Stir occasionally for even heating and to prevent scorching.’
      • ‘And then my lips, my tongue, were burning, scorching, stinging from the heat.’
      • ‘Check it every fifteen to twenty minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot to make sure the meat is not sticking or, God forbid, scorching.’
      • ‘But you have to be careful, since they can scorch in sun or hot winds and turn all green if you give them too much shade or fertilizer.’
      dry up, desiccate, parch, wither, shrivel
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    2. 1.2often as adjective scorched (of the heat of the sun) cause (vegetation or a place) to become dried out and lifeless.
      ‘a desolate, scorched landscape’
      • ‘In winter much of it is under snow; in spring grass appears, which is scorched dry and swept by the dust storms of summer.’
      • ‘The landscape of Western Australia is wild, scorched and beautiful, and the language of his latest book is seductive, distinctive, also beautiful.’
      • ‘A disheartening scene flashed into view: a barren landscape, fruitless, scorched by a blazing, merciless sun.’
      • ‘Somewhere there is a desert ruled by a sun that knows no malice, a sun that never scorches; warm, healing, nurturing, smiling softly down with love for all that is beneath it and all who pass through it.’
      • ‘The countryside had been scorched; the acacia hedges were tipped with orange.’
      • ‘I live in an area that was scorched by drought for several years.’
      • ‘The sun was high in the sky, its rays reaching down and scorching the Earth.’
      • ‘Later, we hike into Limestone Gorge, through a corroded landscape of dolomite blocks, bizarre limestone tower karsts, twisted Screw Palms and scorched yellow grasses.’
      • ‘Vegas scorches in the summer; average July temperatures hover near 100 degrees.’
      • ‘Away from the package holidaymakers, she is free to explore the scorched Mediterranean landscape and investigate what it is that seems to be wrong with her.’
      • ‘The summer heat proved particularly brutal to men marching in hot wool uniforms, and the landscape stretched before them, an unending plain of scorched grassland.’
      make dry, dry out, dry up, parch, sear, bake
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  • 2informal no object , with adverbial of direction (of a person or vehicle) move very fast.

    ‘a sports car scorching along the expressway’
    • ‘You scorched around the block in less than two minutes and didn't even need training wheels, except once.’
    • ‘Having taken pole position, he scorched away and for 30 laps looked a clear winner.’
    • ‘The debutant scorched away from the Bedford defence to put the Bees into a 25-3 lead.’
    • ‘The Glasgow speedster has fallen from grace almost as fast as the winger scorches down the sidelines.’
    • ‘This inoffensive-looking car can scorch along at impressive figures, and, as it is based on a chassis with a decent set of dimensions, it has real space for adults in the back.’
    • ‘Thereafter it was plain sailing for Nitro Smart who scorched around the circuit in the excellent time of 29.’
    • ‘It scorches between corners with lightning force and brakes solidly so that the next corner can be lined up smoothly and efficiently.’
    • ‘Trapping in front she went on to make every post a winning one when scorching around the circuit in 29.19.’
    • ‘He scorched out of traps to set a blistering pace.’
    speed, zoom, whizz, blast
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  • 1The burning or charring of the surface of something.

    as modifier ‘a scorch mark’
    • ‘The hills are jagged and dimpled with craters, some outlined in scorch marks.’
    • ‘He floated inside the cold titanium surroundings, making notice of the large scorch marks on the walls.’
    • ‘Is that what this scorch mark is all about then?’
    • ‘The lawn was covered with scorch marks, and the main lab building was missing large chunks of the wall.’
    • ‘There were no scorch marks, no soiling of any sort.’
    • ‘He couldn't block fast enough and got a nice scorch across his chest.’
    • ‘The whole thing was a dull silver colour, spotted with dark scorch marks as if the ship had been shot in a fight.’
    • ‘However the lasers only left scorch marks in the metal.’
    • ‘Alternatively, you can create a similar effect by grilling the aubergine slices dry, then using a red-hot skewer to mark scorch lines before drizzling with oil.’
    • ‘His back gate was burnt, tiles on his roof were damaged and there's scorch damage to the walls of his back yard.’
    • ‘Huge black scorch marks marred the surface that would have normally been a shiny metal.’
    • ‘Patrick could see the scorch marks on Damon's armor from their first meeting.’
    • ‘His childhood scorches were reddening quickly.’
    • ‘There were multiple scorches on the hull and smoke and sparks continued to emanate from various sections of it.’
    • ‘Farther along, we could see scorch marks rising up the trunks of trees.’
    • ‘I starred at him for so long I had to have left scorch marks.’
    • ‘In an equally astounding fashion, the Medium's violent pillar of fire engulfed the Dark Master's whole body from head to foot, swallowing Henry in a raging inferno hotter than the scorches of Hell.’
    • ‘His sword was at his side and had scorch marks on it.’
    • ‘When he got to the one particular part of the living room that was embellished in scorches, he stopped.’
    • ‘I felt scorches on my arms, and I saw shadowy fingers enclosed around my forearms.’
    1. 1.1Botany A form of plant necrosis, typically of fungal origin, marked by browning of leaf margins.
      • ‘Plants not given protection from the wind often develop leaf scorch or splitting of the bark on the stems.’
      • ‘And here's another tip: Cover the lower trunk sections in tree-wrap paper or burlap strips to ward off animals, sun scorch and errant weedwacker wires.’
      • ‘Severe scorch can result in premature leaf or needle loss.’
      • ‘There is now a noticeable yellow patch developing and the bushes show signs of leaf scorch.’
      • ‘In winter pile it higher to help prevent winter leaf scorch or bark splitting on the stems.’


Middle English (as a verb): perhaps related to Old Norse skorpna ‘be shriveled’.