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.
verb (used with object), scourged, scourg·ing.
  1. to whip with a scourge; lash.
  2. to punish, chastise, or criticize severely.

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

Examples from the Web for scourging

Historical Examples of scourging

  • Our soil yet reddening with the stains,Caught from her scourging, warm and fresh!

    The Liberty Minstrel

    George W. Clark

  • Scourging was a frightful preliminary to death on the cross.

    Jesus the Christ

    James Edward Talmage

  • The stout, healthy boy took the scourging without an outcry.

    The Wedding Ring

    T. De Witt Talmage

  • Yet has he committed no offence that condemns him either to scourging or the prison.


    William Ware

  • I had fallen into the net, and was not to leave it till the scourging had been given.


    Louisa May Alcott

British Dictionary definitions for scourging


  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
verb (tr)
  1. to whip; flog
  2. to punish severely
Derived Formsscourger, noun

Word Origin for scourge

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 scourging



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper