- to make scratches or superficial incisions in (the skin, a wound, etc.), as in vaccination.
- to lacerate by severe criticism.
- to loosen (the soil) with a type of cultivator.
- to hasten the sprouting of (hard-covered seeds) by making incisions in the seed coats.
- to break up (a road surface).
Origin of scarify
1400–50; late Middle English scarifie < Middle French scarifier < Late Latin scarīficāre, alteration of Latin scarīfāre, scarīphāre to make scratches < Greek skarīphâsthai to sketch, derivative of skárīphos stylus; see -ify
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for scarify
Sometimes it may be necessary to scarify the gums, or to apply leeches to them.Popular Technology, Vol. I (of 2)
He bobbed at once, but she hastened to the door to scarify him.Tommy and Grizel
Their mode of obtaining charity was to go barefoot and scarify their heels so that the blood might show.Haunted London
Perhaps the stinging words of last night had at last sunk deep enough to scarify his self-esteem.The Toilers of the Field
To relieve their wearied legs and feet after long marches, they scarify the former with sharp flints.The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, Volume 1
Hubert Howe Bancroft
- surgery to make tiny punctures or superficial incisions in (the skin or other tissue), as for inoculating
- to break up and loosen (soil) to a shallow depth
- to scratch or abrade the outer surface of (seeds) to increase water absorption or hasten germination
- to wound with harsh criticism
C15: via Old French from Latin scarīfāre to scratch open, from Greek skariphasthai to draw, from skariphos a pencil
- (tr) informal to make scared; frighten
C18: from scare + -ify
Scarify is sometimes wrongly thought to mean the same as scare: a frightening (not scarifying) film
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for scarify
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- To make shallow cuts in the skin, as when vaccinating.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.