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Alternative forms[edit]


Middle English, from Middle Dutch scuren, schuren ‎(to polish, to clean), and from Old French escurer, both from Late Latin excuro ‎(clean off), from Latin ex ‎(thoroughly) + curo ‎(take care of)



scour ‎(third-person singular simple present scours, present participle scouring, simple past and past participle scoured)

  1. To clean, polish, or wash something by scrubbing it vigorously.
    He scoured the burner pans to remove the burnt spills.
  2. To remove by rubbing or cleansing; to sweep along or off.
    He scoured the burnt food from the pan.
    • Shakespeare
      [I will] stain my favors in a bloody mask, / Which, washed away, shall scour my shame with it.
  3. To search an area thoroughly.
    They scoured the scene of the crime for clues.
  4. (transitive, intransitive) To move swiftly over; to brush along.
    • Alexander Pope
      when swift Camilla scours the plain
    • Dryden
      So four fierce coursers, starting to the race, / Scour through the plain, and lengthen every pace.
  5. (intransitive, veterinary medicine) Of livestock, to suffer from diarrhea.
    If a lamb is scouring, do not delay treatment.
  6. (transitive, veterinary medicine) To purge.
    to scour a horse
  7. (obsolete) To cleanse.
    • Francis Bacon
      Warm water is softer than cold, for it scoureth better.

Derived terms[edit]



scour ‎(countable and uncountable, plural scours)

  1. The removal of sediment caused by swiftly moving water.
    Bridge scour may scoop out scour holes and compromise the integrity of the bridge.
  2. A place scoured out by running water, as in the bed of a stream below a fall.
    • Grant Allen
      If you catch the two sole denizens [trout] of a particular scour, you will find another pair installed in their place to-morrow.