- 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.
- 2A person or thing that causes great trouble or suffering: the scourge of mass unemploymentMore 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.
verb[with object] Back to top
- 1 • historical Whip (someone) as a punishment: our people did scourge him severelyMore example sentences
flog, whip, beat, horsewhip, lash, flagellate, flail, strap, birch, cane, thrash, belt, leather; North American bullwhip• informal give someone a hiding, tan someone's hide, lather, take a strap to, beat the living daylights out ofNorth American • informal whale• rare quirt
- 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.
- 2Cause great suffering to: political methods used to scourge and oppress workersMore 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.
Middle English: shortening of Old French escorge (noun), escorgier (verb), from Latin ex- 'thoroughly' + corrigia 'thong, whip'.