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[skawr-pee-uh n] /ˈskɔr pi ən/
any of numerous arachnids of the order Scorpionida, widely distributed in warmer parts of the world, having a long, narrow, segmented tail that terminates in a venomous sting.
the Scorpion, Astronomy. Scorpius.
any of various harmless lizards, especially the red- or orange-headed males of certain North American skinks.
Bible. a whip or scourge that has spikes attached. I Kings 12:11.
Origin of scorpion
1175-1225; Middle English < Latin scorpiōn- (stem of scorpiō), equivalent to scorp(ius) scorpion (< Greek skorpíos) + -iōn- noun suffix, perhaps after pāpiliō (stem pāpiliōn-) butterfly, or stelliō (stem stelliōn-) gecko
Related forms
[skawr-pee-on-ik] /ˌskɔr piˈɒn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for scorpions
Historical Examples
  • The two scorpions were asked to get into their boat quickly.

    Looking Seaward Again Walter Runciman
  • If some people have been chastised with whips, they pine after scorpions.

    The Green Carnation Robert Smythe Hichens
  • At the present day scorpions of various genera are found in all the warm regions of the world.

  • Take the case of the scorpions to which I have just referred.

    Lectures on Evolution Thomas Henry Huxley
  • My stomach felt as though it was filled with scorpions, wild cats and lizards.

    A Texas Cow Boy Chas. A. Siringo
  • The barren soil does not breed fevers, crocodiles, tigers or scorpions.

    Essays, First Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Would that he could be whipped back to the House of God—with scorpions, if necessary!

    Children of the Mist Eden Phillpotts
  • The letters, the messages, the presents, these had been the whips and scorpions in his hand.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • Jenkins, securing the trident, used it as a "whip of scorpions," and was satisfied he gave some "strange horrors" with it.

    The Frontier Angel Edward S. Ellis
  • Had I given free rein to my tongue, I had made of it a whip of scorpions.

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for scorpions


any arachnid of the order Scorpionida, of warm dry regions, having a segmented body with a long tail terminating in a venomous sting
false scorpion, any small nonvenomous arachnid of the order Pseudoscorpionida (or Chelonethida), which superficially resemble scorpions but lack the long tail See book scorpion
any of various other similar arachnids, such as the whip scorpion, or other arthropods, such as the water scorpion
(Old Testament) a barbed scourge (I Kings 12:11)
(history) a war engine for hurling stones; ballista
Word Origin
C13: via Old French from Latin scorpiō, from Greek skorpios, of obscure origin


the Scorpion, the constellation Scorpio, the eighth sign of the zodiac
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
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Word Origin and History for scorpions



c.1200, from Old French scorpion (12c.), from Latin scorpionem (nominative scorpio), extended form of scorpius, from Greek skorpios "a scorpion," from PIE root *(s)ker- "to cut" (see shear (v.)). The Spanish alacran "scorpion" is from Arabic al-'aqrab.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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scorpions in the Bible

mentioned along with serpents (Deut. 8:15). Used also figuratively to denote wicked persons (Ezek. 2:6; Luke 10:19); also a particular kind of scourge or whip (1 Kings 12:11). Scorpions were a species of spider. They abounded in the Jordan valley.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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