Definition of singe in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Burn (something) superficially or lightly.

    ‘the fire had singed his eyebrows’
    • ‘After making sure none of my limbs were singed or charred, I decided it was time to make a simple request.’
    • ‘He then used an aerosol as a flame thrower, singeing the back of the victim's head.’
    • ‘Mitchum barely noticed until his fingers were singed.’
    • ‘While it was grinding it smelt like the grinder's motor had burnt out, all singed rubber and smoking grease.’
    • ‘Adam's face was black with soot; his clothes were singed from the intense heat; and the fire had burned a hole through his right pant leg, revealing a red patch of skin.’
    • ‘‘The inside wall was slightly singed but the fire brigade said I had been minutes away from losing the entire flat,’ he said.’
    • ‘Perhaps Hervey was waving a cigarette around and Ronaldo backed off to keep from singeing his head.’
    • ‘He squirted butane onto the fire from a little can that he used to fill his Zippo and the flames shot up, singeing his brow.’
    • ‘The fire singed the edge of Will's cape.’
    • ‘Try not to set your sheets on fire or singe your eyebrows.’
    • ‘There are no dramatics, no singed eyebrows, no binned masterpieces.’
    • ‘Anyone who has ever singed their eyebrows lighting a gas fire could have predicted that trouble lay ahead.’
    • ‘Stand back when you light it or you'll have singed eyebrows.’
    • ‘The griffin's feathers and fur were singed and much of his tail was black.’
    • ‘My own eyebrows were singed, my face and hands burning.’
    • ‘I wasn't burned, but the gently flowing grass was definitely singed from the fire.’
    • ‘The fire fills the hut, the heat scorches him, singes the fur and cracks the skin of his face.’
    • ‘The phone, a Nokia 3310, practically disintegrated, singeing his palm.’
    • ‘The fire also singed a turret of Holy Trinity Cathedral on Hart Street.’
    • ‘Olivia let the cigarette burn down and singe her finger slightly.’
    scorch, burn, sear, char, blacken
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object Be burned superficially.
      ‘the heat was so intense I could feel the hairs on my hands singe’
      • ‘That's right, it's because we're human… we bleed when we're cut, we singe when we're burnt, and it all leaves so many little dents and scars.’
      • ‘In places the fabric had singed.’
      • ‘It singed and burned like hell itself, yet she did not flinch.’
      • ‘The comments would fair make your ear hair singe.’
    2. 1.2 Burn the bristles or down off (the carcass of a pig or fowl) to prepare it for cooking.
      • ‘After the pig had been bled, it was scalded or singed to loosen the bristles, which were scraped off.’


  • A superficial burn.

    • ‘There is an unusual flash-fried cauliflower - no batter, just a nice brown singe on the margins - that deserves points for originality as well as taste.’
    • ‘There were two singe marks on Nathan's chest; the smell of burnt flesh emanating from them.’
    • ‘There wasn't a scratch or a singe on any of the vehicles.’
    • ‘The singe mark, that had started to grow in, was sizzling and hissing again.’
    • ‘L.C. Armstrong is known for abstract paintings that incorporate singe marks, which she forms by laying lengths of bomb fuse on the canvas, igniting them and holding them in place while they burn.’
    • ‘The woman, aged 39, was able to walk to the ambulance before being taken to hospital with minor burns and singes.’
    • ‘The uninsistently salt-and-peppery seasoning was spot on; the slightly charry singe on the crust just so.’
    • ‘Butter-sautéed beef on a vinaigrette-laced green salad was tough and tasted of weary oil; so-called ginger snow peas with tofu tasted mainly of carbonized singe and incinerated red onion.’
    • ‘Some have black singes in the shape of half rings while others have complete crop circles scorched in, much like the markings on a perfectly seared scallop.’
    • ‘The blast passed straight through his body, without even a singe.’


Old English sencgan, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch zengen.