There are 2 main definitions of scald in English:

Share this entry

scald 1

Pronunciation: /skɔːld/


[with object]
1Injure with very hot liquid or steam: the tea scalded his tongue
More example sentences
  • Surprise, surprise, the first time she braked, the hot liquid went sloshing over her knees and scalded her.
  • ‘As soon as he showed me his back I was horrified, it looked as if he had been scalded,’ said Mrs Gillvray, of Stonehill Rise, Scawthorpe.
  • Thirty minutes after taking the child from the bath, he realised she had been scalded, but he did not seek emergency help.
burn, scorch, sear
technical cauterize
1.1Heat (milk or other liquid) to near boiling point: scald the milk with the citrus zest
More example sentences
  • On low heat, scald the milk with the vanilla bean.
  • Still, it is a good practice to scald the milk or cream as this precaution will kill bacteria and also dissolve the sugar and help infuse any flavors.
  • Some folks say that you need to scald the milk beforehand, but I had no problem reaching the desired consistency with cold milk.
1.2Immerse (something) briefly in boiling water for various purposes, such as to facilitate the removal of skin from fruit or to preserve meat: a medium sliced tomato, scalded in water to remove its skin
More example sentences
  • Take seven red ripe tomatoes, blanch/scald them in boiling water, peel them, remove the seeds and slice into small pieces and put them in a dish.
  • The birds are scalded, de-feathered by machine and transferred to the eviscerating line.
  • Cut the mutton and radish into cubes and scald the mutton.
1.3Cause to feel a searing sensation like that of boiling water on skin: she fought to stave off the hot tears scalding her eyes
More example sentences
  • The talking ceased and a new batch of hot, bitter tears scalded down my face.
  • Real tears sting and burn and scald you, vodka tears are mellow, sweetly sad and not tears at all.
  • Tears scalded down his cheeks as they fell silently.
1.4 archaic Rinse (a container) with boiling water: there’s bowls to scald and bairns to fetch!


1A burn or other injury caused by hot liquid or steam: 50,000 children a year are taken to hospital with burns and scalds
More example sentences
  • Traumatic injuries include incisions, gunshot and sword wounds, scalds and burns, contusions, sprains or animal stings and bites.
  • Immersion scalds are classic burn injuries in child abuse, but abuse should be suspected with any scald injury, especially if there is sharp demarcation between burned and normal skin or splash marks are absent.
  • The socioeconomic gradient for injury mechanisms is steepest for pedestrian injuries, burns and scalds, and poisoning, which has implications for targeting injury prevention strategies
2 [mass noun] Any of a number of plant diseases which produce an effect similar to that of scalding, especially a disease of fruit marked by browning and caused by excessive sunlight, bad storage conditions, or atmospheric pollution.
Example sentences
  • This unique cross is tolerant of major plum diseases - like bacterial spot, bacterial canker, and plum leaf scald - that limit an orchard's life-span in the Southeast.
  • In too much sun they may suffer scald on the leaves, or the leaves may appear yellow rather than deep green.
  • And again, as soon as the rain stops we plan to start treating the worst acid sulphate scald in northern NSW and we believe we will have green grass growing on it within six weeks where grass hasn't grown for many, many years.


like a scalded cat

Very quickly: he took off like a scalded cat
More example sentences
  • He took one look at me - half naked, 20 stone, 6ft 5ins inches tall and mad as hell - and took off down the road like a scalded cat, yelling abuse.
  • He walked stiffly towards it with his head thrust forward and the cat scarpered like a - well, like a scalded cat.
  • If something creepy appeared on the television he would get to his feet and politely leave, taking to his heels like a scalded cat.


Middle English (as a verb): from Anglo-Norman French escalder, from late Latin excaldare, from Latin ex- 'thoroughly' + calidus 'hot'. The noun dates from the early 17th century.

  • To scald comes from Anglo-Norman French escalder, from late Latin excaldare ‘wash in hot water’ formed from Latin ex- ‘thoroughly’ and calidus ‘hot’.

Words that rhyme with scald

bald, so-called, uncalled, unwalled
Share this entry

There are 2 main definitions of scald in English:

Share this entry

scald 2


Variant spelling of skald.
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.