scour

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

A urethane sponge. The dark green upper surface is rough and can be used for scouring (sense 1) kitchenware, and kitchen and bathroom surfaces.

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English scǒuren (to polish, scour; to clean; to beat, whip), from Middle Dutch scuren, schuren (to clean; to polish) or Middle Low German schǖren[1] (compare Middle High German schüren, schiuren (modern German scheuern (to scour, scrub; to chafe)), Danish skure, Swedish skura), of uncertain origin but probably from Old French escurer, from Medieval Latin scūrō, escūrō, excūrō (to clean off), from ex- (prefix meaning ‘thoroughly’) + cūrō (to arrange, see to, take care of),[2] from cūra (care, concern) (from Proto-Indo-European *kʷeys- (to heed)) + .

The word is cognate with Norwegian skura (to scrub).

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (transitive) To clean, polish, or wash something by rubbing and scrubbing it vigorously, frequently with an abrasive or cleaning agent.
    He scoured the burnt food from the pan.
  2. To remove debris and dirt by purging; to sweep along or off (by a current of water).
    • Shakespeare
      [I will] stain my favors in a bloody mask, / Which, washed away, shall scour my shame with it.
  3. (transitive, veterinary medicine) To clear the digestive tract by administering medication that induces defecation or vomiting; to purge.
    to scour a horse
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To cleanse (without rubbing).
    • Francis Bacon
      Warm water is softer than cold, for it scoureth better.
  5. (intransitive, veterinary medicine) Of livestock: to suffer from diarrhoea or dysentery.
    If a lamb is scouring, do not delay treatment.
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Noun[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 structure.
  2. A place scoured out by running water, as in the bed of a stream below a waterfall.
    • 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.
  3. A place where wool is washed to remove grease and impurities prior to processing.
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Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English scǒuren, scure, skoure (to move quickly; to travel around in search of enemies),[3] from scǒur (attack, conflict; pang of emotional suffering), from Old Norse skýra (to rush in) and skúr (a shower; a shower of missiles),[4] perhaps influenced by the verb scǒuren: see etymology 1.[3]

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (transitive) To search an area thoroughly.
    They scoured the scene of the crime for clues.
    • 1851 October 18, Herman Melville, “Knights and Squires”, in The Whale, 1st British edition, London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 14262177; Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, 14 November 1851, OCLC 57395299, page 131:
      Tashtego's long, lean, sable hair, his high cheek bones, and black rounding eyes— [] all this sufficiently proclaimed him an inheritor of the unvitiated blood of those proud warrior hunters, who, in quest of the great New England moose, had scoured, bow in hand, the aboriginal forests of the main.
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To run with speed; to scurry.
    • 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.
  3. (transitive, intransitive) To move swiftly over; to brush along.
Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ scǒuren, v.(2)” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 6 June 2018.
  2. ^ Compare “scour” (US) / “scour” (UK) in Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford University Press.
  3. 3.0 3.1 scǒuren, v.(1)” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 6 June 2018.
  4. ^ scǒur, n.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 6 June 2018.

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