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scorched-earth policy

[skawrcht-urth]
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noun
  1. a military practice of devastating the property and agriculture of an area before abandoning it to an advancing enemy.

Origin of scorched-earth policy

1935–40; apparently translation of Chinese jiāotǔ zhèngcè
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018