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scathe

[skeyth]
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verb (used with object), scathed, scath·ing.
  1. to attack with severe criticism.
  2. to hurt, harm, or injure, as by scorching.
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noun
  1. hurt, harm, or injury.
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Origin of scathe

before 1000; (noun) Middle English scath(e), scade, schath(e) < Old Norse skathi damage, harm, cognate with Old English sc(e)atha malefactor, injury (with which the Middle English forms with sch- might be identified); (v.) Middle English scath(e), skath(e) < Old Norse skatha, cognate with Old English sceathian
Related formsscathe·less, adjectivescathe·less·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for scathe

scathe

verb (tr)
  1. rare to attack with severe criticism
  2. archaic, or dialect to injure
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noun
  1. archaic, or dialect harm
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Derived Formsscatheless, adjective

Word Origin

Old English sceatha; related to Old Norse skathi, Old Saxon scatho
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 scathe

v.

c.1200, from Old Norse skaða "to hurt, harm, damage, injure," from Proto-Germanic *skath- (cf. Old English sceaþian "to hurt, injure," Old Saxon skathon, Old Frisian skethia, Middle Dutch scaden, Dutch schaden, Old High German scadon, German schaden, Gothic scaþjan "to injure, damage"), from PIE root *sket- "to injure." Only cognate outside Germanic seems to be in Greek a-skethes "unharmed, unscathed."

It survives mostly in its negative form, unscathed, and in figurative meaning "sear with invective or satire" (1852, usually as scathing) which developed from the sense of "scar, scorch" used by Milton in "Paradise Lost" i.613 (1667).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper