[ ik-skawr-ee-eyt, -skohr- ]
/ ɪkˈskɔr iˌeɪt, -ˈskoʊr- /
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verb (used with object), ex·co·ri·at·ed, ex·co·ri·at·ing.

to denounce or berate severely; flay verbally: He was excoriated for his mistakes.
to strip off or remove the skin from: Her palms were excoriated by the hard labor of shoveling.



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Origin of excoriate

Late Middle English, from Late Latin excoriātus (past participle of excoriāre “to strip, skin or bark”). See ex-1, corium, -ate1;def. 2 was first recorded in 1375–1425, and def. 1 was first recorded in 1880–85.


un·ex·co·ri·at·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does excoriate mean?

Excoriate means to harshly scold, criticize, denounce, or express intense disapproval of someone or something.

Excoriating someone often involves the severest possible tone and words.

This sense of excoriate is based on its original, literal meaning: to strip off or remove the skin from an animal or person. The skin on your hands might be excoriated from hard yard work, for example.

The word flay can be used as a synonym for both the figurative and literal sense of excoriate.

In a medical context, excoriate means to scratch, scrape, or otherwise cause skin to be rubbed off or removed.

The act or an instance of excoriating is excoriation.

Example: She publicly excoriated her rival for his role in the scandal, criticizing him in the most extreme terms.

Where does excoriate come from?

The first records of excoriate come from around 1400. It comes from the Latin verb excoriāre, meaning “to strip off skin or bark,” from the Latin corium, meaning “skin” or “hide.” The prefix ex- means “without,” and the suffix -ate is used to form verbs. The figurative sense of excoriate didn’t enter widespread use until around the 1880s.

Today, when people use the word excoriate, they’re most likely talking about harshly scolding someone, and not about literally ripping someone’s skin off. But this is the underlying sense of its figurative use—a scolding so severe that it’s compared to getting your skin stripped off. There are many other words that mean about the same thing as excoriate, including flay, berate, castigate, chastise, and upbraid. Less formal synonyms include the terms rip into, tear into, and lay into.

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What are some other forms related to excoriate?

What are some synonyms for excoriate?

What are some words that share a root or word element with excoriate



What are some words that often get used in discussing excoriate?


How is excoriate used in real life?

The figurative sense of excoriate is much more commonly used than its literal sense.



Try using excoriate!

Which of the following terms is NOT a synonym of excoriate?

A. tear into
B. berate
C. encourage
D. castigate

Example sentences from the Web for excoriate

British Dictionary definitions for excoriate

/ (ɪkˈskɔːrɪˌeɪt) /

verb (tr)

to strip (the skin) from (a person or animal); flay
med to lose (a superficial area of skin), as by scratching, the application of chemicals, etc
to denounce vehemently; censure severely

Derived forms of excoriate

excoriation, noun

Word Origin for excoriate

C15: from Late Latin excoriāre to strip, flay, from Latin corium skin, hide
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

Medical definitions for excoriate

[ ĭk-skôrē-āt′ ]


To scratch or otherwise abrade the skin by physical means.

Other words from excoriate

ex•co′ri•ation n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.