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From Old French escorgier (to whip), from Vulgar Latin excorrigiare, consisting of ex- (thoroughly) + corrigia (thong, whip).



scourge (plural scourges)

  1. A source of persistent trouble such as pestilence that causes pain and suffering or widespread destruction.
    Graffiti is the scourge of building owners everywhere.
  2. A means to inflict such pain or destruction.
    • c. 1593, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Richard the Third: []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene iv]:
      What scourge for perjury / Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence?
    • 2013 June 1, “Towards the end of poverty”, in The Economist[1], volume 407, number 8838, page 11:
      America’s poverty line is $63 a day for a family of four. In the richer parts of the emerging world $4 a day is the poverty barrier. But poverty’s scourge is fiercest below $1.25 ([…]): people below that level live lives that are poor, nasty, brutish and short.
  3. A whip, often of leather.
    He flogged him with a scourge.
    • (Can we date this quote by Chapman and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      Up to coach then goes / The observed maid, takes both the scourge and reins.
    • 1936, Rollo Ahmed, The Black Art, London: Long, page 99:
      These men lashed themselves and each other unmercifully with knotted leather scourges until the blood ran, two or three times daily.


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scourge (third-person singular simple present scourges, present participle scourging, simple past and past participle scourged)

  1. To strike with a scourge; to flog.


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