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March 6, 2018

Word of the Day: Scarify

1 CQ

Word of the Day : March 6, 2018

scarify \SKAIR-uh-fye\ verb


1 : to make scratches or small cuts in (something, such as the skin)

2 : to lacerate the feelings of

3 : to break up, loosen, or roughen the surface of (something, such as a field or road)

4 : to cut or soften the wall of (a hard seed) to hasten germination

Did You Know?

You get two words for the price of one with scarify. The first scarify appeared in English in the 15th century with the meaning "to make scratches or cuts in" and later developed a figurative application of "cutting" someone emotionally. This word is ultimately derived from a Greek verb meaning "to scratch an outline." The second homograph turned up in the late 18th century and gained currency by the 20th century. This scarify was formed by combining scare with -ify, possibly as a combination of scare and terrify, and it predictably means "to scare or frighten."

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Aired March 6, 2018

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