• WordNet 3.6
    • v scorch become scorched or singed under intense heat or dry conditions "The exposed tree scorched in the hot sun"
    • v scorch make very hot and dry "The heat scorched the countryside"
    • v scorch burn slightly and superficially so as to affect color "The cook blackened the chicken breast","The fire charred the ceiling above the mantelpiece","the flames scorched the ceiling"
    • v scorch destroy completely by or as if by fire "The wildfire scorched the forest and several homes","the invaders scorched the land"
    • v scorch become superficially burned "my eyebrows singed when I bent over the flames"
    • n scorch a discoloration caused by heat
    • n scorch a plant disease that produces a browning or scorched appearance of plant tissues
    • n scorch a surface burn
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: A painting of the Madonna in Fiorano Castle, Italy, escaped without even being scorched when invading soldiers set the castle afire, yet all the rest of the building was destroyed.
    • Scorch To affect painfully with heat, or as with heat; to dry up with heat; to affect as by heat. "Lashed by mad rage, and scorched by brutal fires."
    • Scorch To be burnt on the surface; to be parched; to be dried up. "Scatter a little mungy straw or fern amongst your seedlings, to prevent the roots from scorching ."
    • Scorch To burn or be burnt. "He laid his long forefinger on the scarlet letter, which forthwith seemed to scorch into Hester's breast, as if it had been red hot."
    • Scorch To burn superficially; to parch, or shrivel, the surface of, by heat; to subject to so much heat as changes color and texture without consuming; as, to scorch linen. "Summer drouth or singèd air
      Never scorch thy tresses fair."
    • Scorch To burn; to destroy by, or as by, fire. "Power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.""The fire that scorches me to death."
    • Scorch To ride or drive at great, usually at excessive, speed; -- applied chiefly to automobilists and bicyclists. Colloq
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • scorch To burn superficially; subject to a degree of heat that changes the color, or both the color and the texture, of the surface; parch or shrivel up the surface of by heat; singe.
    • scorch To burn or consume, as by the direct application of fire.
    • scorch To give the sensation of burning; affect with a sensation or an effect similar to that produced by burning; figuratively, to attack with caustic invective or sarcasm.
    • scorch Synonyms Scorch, Singe, Sear, Char. Parch. To scorch is to burn superficially or slightly, but so as to change the color or injure the texture; sometimes, from the common effect of heat, the word suggests shriveling or curling, but not generally. Singe is one degree more external than scorch; we speak of singeing the hair and scorching the skin; a fowl is singed to remove the hairs after plucking out the feathers. Sear has primary reference to drying, but more commonly to hardening, by heat, as by cauterization; hence its figurative use, as when we speak of seared sensibilities, a seared conscience, heat not being thought of as a part of the figure. To char is to reduce to carbon or a black cinder, especially on the surface: when a timber is charred it is burned black on the outside and to an uncertain depth. Parch has a possible meaning of burning superficially or roasting, as in parched corn or peanuts, but almost always refers to drying or shriveling.
    • scorch To be burned on the surface; become parched or dried up.
    • scorch To ride very fast on a bicycle or in a motor-car.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Scorch skorch to burn slightly: to roast highly: to affect painfully with heat: to singe: to attack with virulence
    • v.i Scorch to be burned on the surface: to be dried up:
    • p.adj Scorch burning superficially: bitterly sarcastic, scathing
    • v.i Scorch (slang) to ride a bicycle furiously on a public highway
    • ***


  • Lucretius
    “Though the dungeon, the scourge, and the executioner be absent, the guilty mind can apply the goad and scorch with blows.”
  • George Eliot
    “Play not with paradoxes. That caustic which you handle in order to scorch others may happen to sear your own fingers and make them dead to the quality of things.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. scorchen, probably akin to scorcnen,; cf. Norw. skrokken, shrunk up, skrekka, skrökka, to shrink, to become wrinkled up, dial. Sw. skråkkla, to wrinkle (see Shrug); but perhaps influenced by OF. escorchier, to strip the bark from, to flay, to skin, F. écorcher, LL. excorticare,; L. ex, from + cortex, -icis, bark (cf. Cork); because the skin falls off when scorched


In literature:

If a shirt bosom or any other article has been scorched in ironing, lay it where bright sunshine will fall directly on it.
"The Ladies Book of Useful Information" by Anonymous
A poignant shame enveloped and scorched the girl's body.
"The Fighting Edge" by William MacLeod Raine
While unduly exerting himself beneath a scorching sun, the farmer would no doubt perish if he did not perspire.
"When Life Was Young" by C. A. Stephens
Forests were scorched to a cinder.
"The Book of the National Parks" by Robert Sterling Yard
The scorching contempt in the pale, ugly little eyes of W. Keyse!
"The Dop Doctor" by Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
Roast beef and mutton, if not previously cooked too much, are nice cut in slices, and just scorched on a gridiron.
"The American Housewife" by Anonymous
He flattened his body against the tree as the scorching heat reached his skin.
"With Hoops of Steel" by Florence Finch Kelly
Then dry'd the scorching fire From arid Lybia all her fertile streams.
"The Metamorphoses of Publius Ovidus Naso in English blank verse Vols. I & II" by Ovid
Mollie turned a scorched cheek to her.
"Lover or Friend" by Rosa Nouchette Carey
Scorched linen may be restored by means of the following application.
"The Cook and Housekeeper's Complete and Universal Dictionary; Including a System of Modern Cookery, in all Its Various Branches," by Mary Eaton

In poetry:

Still the rapt faces
Glow from the furnace:
Breath of the smithy
Scorches their brows.
"England My Mother" by William Watson
Yet rolled again in hot July
When all my days are done
And cool to greet the weary eye
After the scorching sun.
"What The Snow Man Said" by Vachel Lindsay
We pray in vain!
The sullen sky flings down its blaze of brass;
The joys of life all scorched and withering pass;
I shall not weep again.
"Lagrimas" by John Hay
O'er the hills, through the dales I wander,
Where the shy sweet streamlets call,
Following each clear sunbeam,
Whether scorching or kind it fall.
"Autumn Days" by Franz Emanuel August Von Geibel
There lay in the shade of a cypress tree,
A pilgrim dark from a far country;
His eyes were bright with a subtle flame,
And his brow seem'd scorch'd with woe and shame;
He lay beneath the cypress tree,
And thus to the cold moon chanted he:—
"The Maniac's Song" by Peter John Allan
I follow the silver spears flung from the hands of dawn.
Through silence, through singing of stars, I journey on and on:
The scattered fires of the sun, blown wide ere the day be done,
Scorch me hurrying after the swift white feet of my fawn.
"Angus The Lover" by Anna Johnston MacManus

In news:

No one could have guessed we would have such a positive response the day after a big holiday and with the scorching heat.
Enlarge Jesse U Bair/The News of Cumberland County Tex Powell wipes the sweat from his face as he works in the scorching heat in Vineland on Saturday July 7, 2012.
Scorching heat, dry conditions stifle July 4 celebrations.
Later in the week I met up with Kerr at a cafe called Scorch-O-Rama (that it overlooks Scorching Bay doesn't quite make the name forgivable).
A coin-sized scorch — an absence.
New Yorkers Monday enjoyed a scorching Memorial Day , honoring fallen soldiers while trying to take refuge from the heat.
The fire has scorched about six square miles.
The latest wildfire in the Northwest has continued to grow, scorching nearly 5,000 acres southwest of Omak, Wash.
Scorch Fat and Work Every Muscle in 1 Move.
A trio of wildfires scorched thousands of acres in the eastern half of the county Tuesday, resulting in two volunteer firefighters being sent to a local hospital.
Persistent wildfires scorch state.
OKC implemented then rescinded a water-rotation program last week, and it might not be the last restriction during this scorching summer.
Share Hundreds of millions of Muslims prepare for Ramadan in scorching summer heat.
Muslims prepare for tough Ramadan in scorching heat.
It's a scorching late afternoon in mid-July.