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scarify

[skar-uh-fahy]
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verb (used with object), scar·i·fied, scar·i·fy·ing.
  1. to make scratches or superficial incisions in (the skin, a wound, etc.), as in vaccination.
  2. to lacerate by severe criticism.
  3. to loosen (the soil) with a type of cultivator.
  4. to hasten the sprouting of (hard-covered seeds) by making incisions in the seed coats.
  5. to break up (a road surface).
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Origin of scarify

1400–50; late Middle English scarifie < Middle French scarifier < Late Latin scarīficāre, alteration of Latin scarīfāre, scarīphāre to make scratches < Greek skarīphâsthai to sketch, derivative of skárīphos stylus; see -ify
Related formsscar·i·fi·er, nounun·scar·i·fied, adjective
Can be confusedscarify scorify
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for scarifier

Historical Examples

  • For cutting off weeds, the push Hoe or scarifier is excellent.

    The Practical Garden-Book

    C. E. Hunn

  • I have almost finished No. 3, in which I have relieved my indignant soul with a scarifier.

  • When the soil has weathered a few weeks, the scarifier or cultivator should be run over it once monthly until May.

    The Cauliflower

    A. A. Crozier

  • In like manner each group of people possesses its scarifier, who by practice becomes adept.

    Negritos of Zambales

    William Allan Reed


British Dictionary definitions for scarifier

scarify1

verb -fies, -fying or -fied (tr)
  1. surgery to make tiny punctures or superficial incisions in (the skin or other tissue), as for inoculating
  2. agriculture
    1. to break up and loosen (soil) to a shallow depth
    2. to scratch or abrade the outer surface of (seeds) to increase water absorption or hasten germination
  3. to wound with harsh criticism
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Derived Formsscarification, nounscarifier, noun

Word Origin

C15: via Old French from Latin scarīfāre to scratch open, from Greek skariphasthai to draw, from skariphos a pencil

scarify2

verb -fies, -fying or -fied
  1. (tr) informal to make scared; frighten
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Derived Formsscarifyingly, adverb

Word Origin

C18: from scare + -ify

usage

Scarify is sometimes wrongly thought to mean the same as scare: a frightening (not scarifying) film
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 scarifier

scarify

v.

mid-15c., "make incisions in the bark of a tree," from Middle French scarifier "score, scrape" (leather or hide), 14c., from Late Latin scarificare (see scarification). The sense "cover with scars" (1680s) is a sense-shift from influence of scar (v.). Related: Scarified; scarifier; scarifying.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

scarifier in Medicine

scarify

(skărə-fī′)
v.
  1. To make shallow cuts in the skin, as when vaccinating.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.