Definition of scourge in English:

scourge

Syllabification: scourge
Pronunciation: /skərj
 
/

noun

1 historical A whip used as an instrument of punishment.
More example sentences
  • Begone, or shall I be required to chastise you with the whip and the scourge once more?
  • They were in hot pursuit of their escaping slaves, with whips and scourges cracking, and blades drawn.
Synonyms
2A person or thing that causes great trouble or suffering: the scourge of mass unemployment
More example sentences
  • Like every city, Sheffield suffers from the scourge of nuisance neighbours, but has taken a leading role in trying to address the problem.
  • The fiction business, Bellaigue tells us, is troubled by twin scourges: speculative advances and competitive discounts.
  • ‘Bill suffered the scourge of asthma all his life,’ he said.
Synonyms
affliction, bane, curse, plague, menace, evil, misfortune, burden, cross to bear;
blight, cancer, canker

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1 historical Whip (someone) as a punishment.
More example sentences
  • As he is beaten, he falls on his back and can see only the foot of the soldier who is scourging him.
  • Beattie stripped him of all his assumed dignity, and having laid his back bare, scourged him till he smarted keenly, and cursed again.
  • He continued to scourge me even after I had collapsed onto the pier.
Synonyms
flog, whip, beat, horsewhip, lash, flagellate, strap, birch, cane, thrash, belt, leather
informal tan someone's hide, take a strap to
2Cause great suffering to: political methods used to scourge and oppress workers
More example sentences
  • The Italian playwright was awarded the Nobel Prize for ‘emulating the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden’.
  • He also scourges the bureaucracy and the corruption, and the collusion between the Mafia and politicians.
  • Straddling two of the Indian subcontinent's mightiest rivers, the country is regularly drowned by flood crests surging downstream or scourged by whirlwinds from the sea.
Synonyms

Origin

Middle English: shortening of Old French escorge (noun), escorgier (verb), from Latin ex- 'thoroughly' + corrigia 'thong, whip'.

Derivatives

scourger

noun
( historical )
More example sentences
  • Behind the employer stood the magistrate and the scourger, and then the chain gangs and the penal colonies, such as Norfolk Island, Moreton Bay, and Port Arthur.

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