1. A source of widespread dreadful affliction and devastation such as that caused by pestilence or war.
2. A means of inflicting severe suffering, vengeance, or punishment.
3. A small whip used to inflict punishment.
tr.v. scourged, scourg·ing, scourg·es
1. To afflict with severe or widespread suffering and devastation; ravage.
2. To chastise severely; excoriate.
3. To flog.
[Middle English, from Anglo-Norman escorge, from Old French escorgier, to whip, from Vulgar Latin *excorrigiāre : Latin ex-, intensive pref.; see EX- + Latin corrigia, thong (probably of Celtic origin).]
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.