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 the verb now takes a wider variety of objects, and the Usage Panel does not object. In both our 2002 and 2017 surveys, 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 ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.