From Middle English scath, scathe [and other forms], from Old Norse skaði (“damage, harm; loss; death; murder”), from Proto-Germanic *skaþô (“damage, scathe; one who causes damage, injurer”, noun) (whence Old English sceaþa, sceaþu (“scathe, harm, injury”)), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)keh₁t- (“damage, harm”).
- (countable, uncountable) Damage, harm, hurt, injury.
- c. 1588–1593, [William Shakespeare], The Most Lamentable Romaine Tragedie of Titus Andronicus: […] (First Quarto), London: […] Iohn Danter, and are to be sold by Edward White & Thomas Millington, […], published 1594, OCLC 222241046, [Act V, scene i]:
- Therefore great Lords bee as your titles vvitnes, / Imperious, and impatient of your vvrongs, / And vvherein Rome hath done you any ſkath, / Let him make treable ſatisfaction.
- 1606?, Michaell Drayton [i.e., Michael Drayton], “Ode 7”, in Poemes Lyrick and Pastorall. […], London: […] R. B[radock] for N[icholas] L[ing] and I[ohn] Flasket, OCLC 228714553; republished in Poemes Lyrick and Pastorall (Publications of the Spenser Society, New Series; 4), [Manchester: […] Charles E. Simms] for the Spenser Society, 1891, OCLC 15052585, page 22:
- [S]trong ale and noble cheere / t'aſſwage breeme winters ſcathes.
- [1787, Robert Burns, “Death and Doctor Hornbook, a True Story”, in Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect. […], volume I, 2nd edition, Edinburgh: […] T[homas] Cadell, […], and William Creech, […], published 1793, OCLC 860627146, page 56; reprinted Kilmarnock, Scotland: […] James M‘Kie, 1867, OCLC 892088677, page 56:
- I red ye weel, tak care o' ſkaith, / See there's a gully!
- 1864, Thomas Carlyle, “Friedrich Reduced to Straits; Cannot Maintain His Moldau Conquests against Prince Karl”, in History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Called Frederick the Great, volume IV, London: Chapman and Hall, […], OCLC 156109991, book XV, page 60:
- Let us take the scathe and the scorn candidly home to us;—and try to prepare for doing better.
- 1870, “The Latter End of All the Kin of the Giukings”, in Eiríkr Magnússon and William Morris, transl., Völsunga Saga. The Story of the Volsungs & Niblungs: With Certain Songs from the Elder Edda. […], London: F[rederick] S[tartridge] Ellis, […], OCLC 37510806, page 161:
- Now telleth the tale concerning the sons of Gudrun, that she had arrayed their war-raiment in such wise, that no steel would bite thereon; and she bade them play not with stones or other heavy matters, for that it would be to their scathe if they did so.
- 1870, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “[Poems.] The Burden of Nineveh.”, in Poems, London: F[rederick] S[tartridge] Ellis, […], OCLC 1192975098, stanza 2, pages 21–22:
- 'Twas bull, 'twas mitred Minotaur, / A dead disbowelled mystery; / The mummy of a buried faith / Stark from the charnel without scathe, / Its wings stood for the light to bathe,— […]
- (countable) Someone who, or something which, causes harm; an injurer.
- Synonym: (very rare) harmer
- (countable, Scotland, law, obsolete) An injury or loss for which compensation is sought in a lawsuit; damage; also, expenses incurred by a claimant; costs.
- (uncountable) Something to be mourned or regretted.
- 1870, William Morris, “December: The Fostering of Aslaug”, in The Earthly Paradise: A Poem, part IV, London: F[rederick] S[tartridge] Ellis, […], OCLC 51004898, page 57:
- They deemed it little scathe indeed / That her coarse homespun ragged weed / Fell off from her round arms and lithe / Laid on the door-post, that a withe / Of willows was her only belt; / And each as he gazed at her felt / As some gift had been given him.
- scathel (Britain, dialectal or obsolete)
From Middle English scathen, skathen (“to harm; to cause loss; to assail, attack; to make war on; to defeat”) [and other forms], from Old Norse skaða (“to damage, harm; to hurt, injure”), from Proto-Germanic *skaþōną (“to damage, harm; to injure”) (whence Old English sceaþian, scaþan (“to harm, hurt, injure, scathe”)), from *skaþô (“damage, scathe; one who causes damage, injurer”, noun); see further at etymology 1.
Sense 2 (“to harm, injure, or destroy (someone or something) by fire, lightning, or some other heat source”) appears to derive from Paradise Lost by the English poet John Milton (1608–1674), perhaps influenced by scorch: see the 1667 quotation.
- Albanian shkathët (“adept, clever, skilful”)
- Danish skade (“to hurt, injure”)
- Dutch schaden (“to injure”)
- Gothic 𐍃𐌺𐌰𐌸𐌾𐌰𐌽 (skaþjan, “to harm, injure; to do wrong”)
- Ancient Greek ἀσκηθής (askēthḗs, “unhurt”)
- Old Frisian skathia (“to injure”)
- Old High German skadôn (Middle High German schaden, German schaden (“to damage, harm, hurt; to be harmful”))
- Old Norse skeðja (“to hurt”)
- Old Saxon scaðon (“to slander”)
- Swedish skada (“to hurt, injure”)
- (Received Pronunciation, General American) IPA(key): /skeɪð/
Audio (Southern England) (file)
- Rhymes: -eɪð
- (archaic or Scotland) To harm or injure (someone or something) physically.
- 1667, John Milton, “Book I”, in Paradise Lost. […], London: […] [Samuel Simmons], […], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554, lines 612–615:
- Thir Glory witherd. As when Heavens Fire / Hath ſcath'd the Forreſt Oaks, or Mountain Pines, / With ſinged top their ſtately growth though bare / Stands on the blaſted Heath.
- [1786, Robert Burns, “Epistle to J. R******, Enclosing Some Poems”, in Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, volume I, Kilmarnock, Scotland: […] John Wilson, OCLC 1086871905; reprinted Kilmarnock, Scotland: […] James M‘Kie, 1867, OCLC 892088677, page 219:
- Think, wicked Sinner, wha ye're ſkaithing: / It's juſt the Blue-gown badge an' claithing, / O' Saunts; tak that, ye lea'e them naething, / To ken them by, / Frae ony unregenerate Heathen, / Like you or I.
- 1813, Walter Scott, “Canto Fourth”, in Rokeby; a Poem, Edinburgh: […] [F]or John Ballantyne and Co. […]; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown; by James Ballantyne and Co., […], OCLC 1015424868, stanza XXVI, page 192:
- [T]wice Matilda came between / The carabine and Redmond's breast, / Just ere the spring his finger pressed. / […] / "It ne'er," he muttered, "shall be said, / That thus I scathed thee, haughty maid!"
- 1815, Walter Scott, “Canto Fourth”, in The Lord of the Isles, a Poem, Edinburgh: […] [F]or Archibald Constable and Co. […]; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown; by James Ballantyne and Co., […], OCLC 25523028, stanza VIII, page 137:
- Seek not the giddy crag to climb, / To view the turret scathed by time; / It is a task of doubt and fear / To aught but goat or mountain-deer.
- 1865, “Leech Book. Book II.”, in Oswald Cockayne, editor, Leechdoms, Wortcunning, and Starcraft of Early England. Being a Collection of Documents, for the Most Part Never before Printed, Illustrating the History of Science in this Country before the Norman Conquest. […] (Rerum Britannicarum Medii Ævi Scriptores, or Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland during the Middle Ages; 35), volume II, London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green, OCLC 229893397, page 163:
- Leechdoms regarding […] how the congressus sexuum is not holesome for a dry body, and how it scatheth not a hot nor a wet one: […]
- (specifically, obsolete) To cause monetary loss to (someone).
- 1602, [Thomas Heywood], A Pleasant Conceited Comedie, wherein is Shewed How a Man may Chuse a Good Wife from a Bad. […], London: […] [Thomas Creede] for Mathew Lawe, […], OCLC 1203352088; reprinted as How a Man may Choose a Good Wife from a Bad (Old English Drama Students Facsimile; 50), [London: s.n.], 1912, OCLC 1181342714, signature C, recto:
- VVell goe too vvild oates, ſpend thrift, prodigall, / Ile croſſe thy name quite from my reckoning booke: / For theſe accounts, faith it ſhall skathe thee ſomevvhat, / I vvill not ſay vvhat ſomevvhat it ſhall be.
- (by extension, chiefly literary and poetic) To harm, injure, or destroy (someone or something) by fire, lightning, or some other heat source; to blast; to scorch; to wither.
- 1810, Walter Scott, “Canto III. The Gathering.”, in The Lady of the Lake; a Poem, Edinburgh: […] [James Ballantyne and Co.] for John Ballantyne and Co.; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, and William Miller, OCLC 6632529, stanza X, page 109:
- The shout was hushed on lake and fell, / The Monk resumed his muttered spell. / Dismal and low its accents came, / The while he scathed the Cross with flame; […]
- 1813, Walter Scott, “Canto Fourth”, in Rokeby; a Poem, Edinburgh: […] [F]or John Ballantyne and Co. […]; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown; by James Ballantyne and Co., […], OCLC 1015424868, stanza III, page 156:
- Hoary, yet haughty, frowns the oak, / Its boughs by weight of ages broke; / And towers erect, in sable spire, / The pine-tree scathed by lightning fire; […]
- 1844, George Stephens, transl., The King of Birds; or, The Lay of the Phœnix; an Anglo-Saxon Song of the Tenth or Eleventh Century. […], London: […] J[ohn] B[owyer] Nichols and Son, […], OCLC 5509126, page 9:
- Winter and summer / That wood beeth changeless / Starr'd with rich stores; / Shriveleth never / Leaf under loft / Nor lightning it scatheth, […]
- (figuratively) To severely hurt (someone's feelings, soul, etc., or something intangible) through acts, words spoken, etc.
- 1819 July 31, Geoffrey Crayon [pseudonym; Washington Irving], “The Broken Heart”, in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., number II, New York, N.Y.: […] C. S. Van Winkle, […], OCLC 1090970992, page 149:
- There are some strokes of calamity that scathe and scorch the soul—that penetrate to the vital seat of happiness—and blast it, never again to put forth bud or blossom.
- 1831, Thomas Carlyle, “Centre of Indifference”, in Sartor Resartus: The Life and Opinions of Herr Teufelsdröckh. […], London: Chapman and Hall, […], OCLC 614372740, book second, page 117:
- For the fire-baptised soul, long so scathed and thunder-riven, here feels its own Freedom, which feeling is its Baphometic Baptism: […]
- ^ “scā̆th(e, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ Compare “scathe, n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022; “scathe, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
- ^ “scāthen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- Compare “scathe, v.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022; “scathe, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
- 'stache, 'taches, Scheat, achest, chaste, chates, cheats, he-cats, sachet, she-cat, stache, taches, thecas