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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English scar, scarre, a conflation of Old French escare (scab) (from Late Latin eschara, from Ancient Greek ἐσχάρα (eskhára, scab left from a burn), and thus a doublet of eschar) and Middle English skar (incision, cut, fissure) (from Old Norse skarð (notch, chink, gap), from Proto-Germanic *skardaz (gap, cut, fragment)). Akin to Old Norse skor (notch, score), Old English sċeard (gap, cut, notch). More at shard.

Displaced native Old English dolgswæþ.


scar (plural scars)

  1. A permanent mark on the skin, sometimes caused by the healing of a wound.
  2. (by extension) A permanent negative effect on someone's mind, caused by a traumatic experience.
    • 2011, O. P. Sharma, Be a Winner, →ISBN:
      Thus, it is wise to avoid cultivating an emotional scar, as it can play havoc with your happiness and success.
  3. Any permanent mark resulting from damage.
    • 1961, Dorothy Jensen Neal, Captive mountain waters: a story of pipelines and people (page 29)
      Her age-old weapons, flood and fire, left scars on the canyon which time will never efface.
    • 2022 March 23, Paul Bigland, “HS2 is just 'passing through'”, in RAIL, number 953, page 44:
      There is a real scar on the landscape, but it reminds me exactly of scenes I photographed from the construction of High Speed 1 in Kent and Essex, and of the Norton Bridge flyover in Staffordshire. Scars heal, and the replanting and rewilding that Penny had shown me at Cubbington display the early stages.
Related terms[edit]


scar (third-person singular simple present scars, present participle scarring, simple past and past participle scarred)

  1. (transitive) To mark the skin permanently.
  2. (intransitive) To form a scar.
    • 1939 September, D. S. Barrie, “The Railways of South Wales”, in Railway Magazine, page 157:
      Iron and coal were the magnets that drew railways to this land of lovely valleys and silent mountains—for such it was a century-and-a-half ago, before man blackened the valleys with the smoke of his forges, scarred the green hills with his shafts and waste-heaps, and drove the salmon from the quiet Rhondda and the murmuring Taff.
    • 2002, Zadie Smith, The Autograph Man, Penguin Books (2003), page 161:
      And black skin scars badly. Whatʼs left behind stays pink and angry, always.
  3. (transitive, figuratively) To affect deeply in a traumatic manner.
    Seeing his parents die in a car crash scarred him for life.
Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English scarre, skarr, skerre, sker, a borrowing from Old Norse sker (an isolated rock in the sea; skerry). Cognate with Icelandic sker, Norwegian skjær, Swedish skär, Danish skær, German Schäre. Doublet of skerry.


scar (plural scars)

  1. A cliff or rock outcrop.
    • 1847, Tennyson, “The Bugle Song”, in The Princess:
      O hark, O hear! how thin and clear, / ⁠And thinner, clearer, farther going! / O sweet and far from cliff and scar / ⁠The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
    • 1954, William Golding, chapter 1, in Lord of the Flies, Penguin:
      All round him the long scar smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat. He was clambering heavily among the creepers and broken trunks when a bird, a vision of red and yellow, flashed upwards with a witch-like cry; and this cry was echoed by another. “Hi!” it said. “Wait a minute!” The undergrowth at the side of the scar was shaken and a multitude of raindrops fell pattering.
  2. A rock in the sea breaking out from the surface of the water.
  3. A bare rocky place on the side of a hill or mountain.
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 3[edit]

From Latin scarus (a kind of fish), from Ancient Greek σκάρος (skáros, parrot wrasse, Sparisoma cretense, syn. Scarus cretensis).


scar (plural scars)

  1. A marine food fish, the scarus or parrotfish (family Scaridae).


Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for “scar” in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)




From Old Irish scaraid, from Proto-Celtic *skarati, from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ker-.



scar (present analytic scarann, future analytic scarfaidh, verbal noun scaradh, past participle scartha)

  1. (transitive) sever
  2. (transitive) separate
    • 1939, Peig Sayers, “Inghean an Cheannaidhe”, printed in Marie-Louise Sjoestedt, Description d’un parler irlandais de Kerry, Bibliothèque de l'École des Hautes Études 270. Paris: Librairie Honoré Champion, p. 194:
      Do bhí brón mór air a bheith ag scaramhaint le n-a chailín ach ni raibh leigheas air, chaithfeadh sé imtheacht.
      He was very sorry to be separating from his girl, but it couldn’t be helped, he had to go.
    Synonyms: dealaigh, deighil
  3. (transitive) tear asunder


Derived terms[edit]

  • soscartha (easily separated; isolable, adjective)

Further reading[edit]

Old Irish[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]




  1. third-person singular preterite conjunct of scaraid