[ ik-skawr-ee-ey-shuhn, -skohr- ]
/ ɪkˌskɔr iˈeɪ ʃən, -ˌskoʊr- /
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Definition of excoriation

the act of excoriating.
the state of being excoriated.
an excoriated place on the body.


Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.


When Should We Resort To Excoriation?

An excoriation is like being flayed with words... ouch! Some words can really get under your skin.

Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
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Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of excoriation

1375–1425; late Middle English excoriacioun<Medieval Latin excoriātiōn- (stem of excoriātiō). See excoriate, -ion
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does excoriation mean?

Excoriation is the act or an instance of excoriating—harshly scolding, criticizing, denouncing, or expressing 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.

Excoriation can also refer to the state of being excoriated.

In a medical context, excoriation can refer to an instance of the skin being scratched, scraped, or otherwise caused to be rubbed off or removed. It can also refer to a part of the body where this has happened, as in The patient had a large excoriation on his back as a result of the accident. 

Example: Her public excoriation of her rival for his role in the scandal was severe and unyielding.

Where does excoriation come from?

The first records of excoriation 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.” The figurative sense of the verb excoriate didn’t enter widespread use until around the 1880s.

Today, when people use the word excoriation, they’re most likely talking about a harsh scolding, 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 excoriation, including flaying, chastisement, and castigation.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to excoriation?

What are some synonyms for excoriation?

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

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

How is excoriation used in real life?

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



Try using excoriation!

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

A. chastisement
B. castigation
C. encouragement
D. flaying

How to use excoriation in a sentence