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scourge

[skurj]
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noun
  1. a whip or lash, especially for the infliction of punishment or torture.
  2. a person or thing that applies or administers punishment or severe criticism.
  3. a cause of affliction or calamity: Disease and famine are scourges of humanity.
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verb (used with object), scourged, scourg·ing.
  1. to whip with a scourge; lash.
  2. to punish, chastise, or criticize severely.
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Origin of scourge

1175–1225; (noun) Middle English < Anglo-French escorge, derivative of escorgier to whip < Vulgar Latin *excorrigiāre, derivative of Latin corrigia thong, whip (see ex-1); (v.) Middle English < Old French escorgier
Related formsscourg·er, nounscourg·ing·ly, adverbself-scourg·ing, adjectiveun·scourged, adjectiveun·scourg·ing, adjective

Synonyms

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

terrorcursepestpenaltymisfortunepestilenceinflictionvisitationcorrectionbaneafflictionpunishmentcaneafflictscatheexcoriatetormentcastigatetanwhip

Examples from the Web for scourge

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • And there is much to be done and to be said, but take my word for it: This scourge will stop.

  • A company came on board the Scourge, and they filled us chock-a-block.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The day after I reached the harbour, I was ordered on board the Scourge.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • I never saw a studding-sail in any of the schooners, the Scourge excepted.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The Scourge had gone down on the night of the 7th, or the morning of the 8th, I never knew which.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper


British Dictionary definitions for scourge

scourge

noun
  1. a person who harasses, punishes, or causes destruction
  2. a means of inflicting punishment or suffering
  3. a whip used for inflicting punishment or torture
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verb (tr)
  1. to whip; flog
  2. to punish severely
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Derived Formsscourger, noun

Word Origin

C13: from Anglo-French escorge, from Old French escorgier (unattested) to lash, from es- ex- 1 + Latin corrigia whip
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 scourge

n.

c.1200, "a whip, lash," from Anglo-French escorge, back-formation from Old French escorgier "to whip," from Vulgar Latin *excorrigiare, from Latin ex- "out, off" (see ex-) + corrigia "thong, shoelace," in this case "whip," probably from a Gaulish word related to Old Irish cuimrech "fetter," from PIE root *reig- "to bind" (see rig (v.)). Figurative use from late 14c. Scourge of God, title given by later generations to Attila the Hun (406-453 C.E.), is attested from late 14c., from Latin flagellum Dei.

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v.

c.1300, "to whip," from Old French escorgier and from scourge (n.). Figurative meaning "to afflict" (often for the sake of punishment or purification) is from late 14c. Related: Scourged; scourging.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper