Definition of scourge in English:

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Pronunciation: /skəːdʒ/


1 historical A whip used as an instrument of punishment.
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.
whip, horsewhip, lash, strap, birch, switch, flail;
North American  bullwhip, rawhide
historical cat-o'-nine-tails, knout
rare flagellum, quirt, blacksnake
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.
affliction, bane, curse, plague, menace, evil, misfortune, burden, cross to bear, thorn in one's flesh/side, bitter pill, trial, nuisance, pest;
torment, torture, misery, suffering;
blight, cancer, canker;
punishment, penalty, visitation


[with object]
1 historical Whip (someone) as a punishment: our people did scourge him severely
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.
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 of
North American informal whale
archaic switch, stripe, thong
rare quirt
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.
afflict, plague, torment, torture, curse, cause suffering to, oppress, burden, bedevil, beset;



Pronunciation: /ˈskəːdʒə/
noun ( historical)
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.


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

  • Scourge is a shortening of Old French escorgier, from Latin ex- ‘thoroughly’ and corrigia ‘thong, whip’. It is a word used most often figuratively as in the Scourge of God for an instrument of divine chastisement, the title given by historians to Attila the Hun in the 5th century.

Words that rhyme with scourge

converge, dirge, diverge, emerge, merge, purge, serge, splurge, spurge, submerge, surge, urge, verge

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: scourge

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