[ skey-th ing ]
/ ˈskeɪ ðɪŋ /


bitterly severe, as a remark: a scathing review of the play.
harmful, injurious, or searing.

Origin of scathing

First recorded in 1785–95; scathe + -ing2
Related formsscath·ing·ly, adverb

Definition for scathing (2 of 2)


[ skeyth ]
/ skeɪð /

verb (used with object), scathed, scath·ing.

to attack with severe criticism.
to hurt, harm, or injure, as by scorching.


hurt, harm, or injury.

Origin of scathe

before 1000; (noun) Middle English scath(e), scade, schath(e) < Old Norse skathi damage, harm, cognate with Old English sc(e)atha malefactor, injury (with which the Middle English forms with sch- might be identified); (v.) Middle English scath(e), skath(e) < Old Norse skatha, cognate with Old English sceathian
Related formsscathe·less, adjectivescathe·less·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scathing

British Dictionary definitions for scathing (1 of 2)


/ (ˈskeɪðɪŋ) /


harshly critical; scornfula scathing remark
damaging; painful

Derived Formsscathingly, adverb

British Dictionary definitions for scathing (2 of 2)


/ (skeɪð) /

verb (tr)

rare to attack with severe criticism
archaic, or dialect to injure


archaic, or dialect harm
Derived Formsscatheless, adjective

Word Origin for scathe

Old English sceatha; related to Old Norse skathi, Old Saxon scatho
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