tr.v. ex·co·ri·at·ed, ex·co·ri·at·ing, ex·co·ri·ates
a. To censure strongly; denounce: "preparing to excoriate him for his insufficient preparations" (Neil Bascomb).
b. To criticize (something) harshly: "After excoriating the vapid culture of movie-star worship ... he's ended up at that trough" (Maureen Dowd).
2. To tear, scrape, or wear off (the skin).
[Middle English excoriaten, from Latin excoriāre, excoriāt- : ex-, ex- + corium, skin; see sker-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: Traditionally, one excoriates people, not things, but in recent years the verb has been given a wider variety of objects, and the Usage Panel does not object. In our 2002 survey, 83 percent of the Panel accepted the sentence The party's national convention and its platform were excoriated by a contemptuous press, where the verb acts upon products of human effort.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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