verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to become scorched: Milk scorches easily.
Informal. to travel or drive at high speed: The car scorched along the highway.


a superficial burn.

Origin of scorch

1400–50; late Middle English scorchen, perhaps blend of scorcnen (< Scandinavian; compare Old Norse skorpna to shrivel) and torch1
Related formsun·scorched, adjectivewell-scorched, adjective

Synonyms for scorch

Synonym study

1. See burn1.

Antonyms for scorch

3. laud. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unscorched

Historical Examples of unscorched

  • In the chimney of his workshop was found all that remained unburnt or unscorched of the body of the unfortunate Mr. Paas.

  • But he came out of his trial not only unscorched, but, as his many letters from Aberdeen show, greatly advanced in every grace.

  • As soon as his meagre back was turned Knight stooped and retrieved the letter in its envelope, unscorched, from the fireplace.

    The Second Latchkey

    Charles Norris Williamson and Alice Muriel Williamson

  • In unscorched fields horses and cattle still fed peacefully.

    The War in the Air

    Herbert George Wells

  • His brain felt withered, his mind had only one of its many-sighted eyes left open and unscorched.

    Aaron's Rod

    D. H. Lawrence

British Dictionary definitions for unscorched



to burn or become burnt, so as to affect the colour, taste, etc, or to cause or feel pain
to wither or parch or cause to wither from exposure to heat
(intr) informal to be very hotit is scorching outside
(tr) informal to criticize harshly
(intr) British slang to drive or ride very fast


a slight burn
a mark caused by the application of too great heat
horticulture a mark or series of marks on fruit, vegetables, etc, caused by pests or insecticides
Derived Formsscorching, adjective

Word Origin for scorch

C15: probably from Old Norse skorpna to shrivel up
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 unscorched



"to burn superficially or slightly, but so as to change the color or injure the texture," early 14c., perhaps an alteration of scorrcnenn "make dry, parch" (c.1200), of obscure origin, perhaps from Old Norse skorpna "to be shriveled," cognate with Old English scrimman "to shrink, dry up." Or perhaps from Old French escorchier "to strip off the skin," from Vulgar Latin excorticare "to flay," from ex- (see ex-) + Latin cortex (genitive corticis) "cork;" but OED finds this not likely. Scorched earth military strategy is 1937, translation of Chinese jiaotu, used against the Japanese in a bid to stem their advance into China.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper