- a whip or lash, especially for the infliction of punishment or torture.
- a person or thing that applies or administers punishment or severe criticism.
- a cause of affliction or calamity: Disease and famine are scourges of humanity.
- to whip with a scourge; lash.
- to punish, chastise, or criticize severely.
Origin of scourge
SynonymsSee more synonyms for scourge on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for scourge
The U.K. tabloids, as is their wont, have branded her “shameless,” “sordid,” and “the scourge of society.”The X Factor of Sex Invades Britain: Rebecca More’s ‘Sex Tour’ Enrages UK Politicians
October 20, 2014
After Ferguson, we all must renew our efforts to eliminate the scourge of racism from American life.What We Need Are Anti-Racists
August 24, 2014
Another huge impetus behind the movement to legalize sex work is the current focus on ending the scourge of sex trafficking.Why It's Time to Legalize Prostitution
August 15, 2014
Settling over wilderness areas everywhere, like a deadly fog, is the scourge of our time: global warming.American Wilderness Faces the Firing Squad
July 6, 2014
To the modern right, the labor movement was the scourge of America when it had real power.Can a Senator Stop a Union? Bob Corker Is Certainly Trying
February 14, 2014
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.
The day after I reached the harbour, I was ordered on board the Scourge.
I never saw a studding-sail in any of the schooners, the Scourge excepted.
The Scourge had gone down on the night of the 7th, or the morning of the 8th, I never knew which.
- a person who harasses, punishes, or causes destruction
- a means of inflicting punishment or suffering
- a whip used for inflicting punishment or torture
- to whip; flog
- to punish severely
Word Origin and History for scourge
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.
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.