from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To search through or over thoroughly.
  • intransitive verb To range over (an area) quickly and energetically.
  • intransitive verb To range over or about an area, especially in a search.
  • intransitive verb To move swiftly; scurry.
  • intransitive verb To clean, polish, or wash by scrubbing vigorously.
  • intransitive verb To remove by scrubbing.
  • intransitive verb To remove dirt or grease from (cloth or fibers) by means of a detergent.
  • intransitive verb To clean (wheat) before the milling process.
  • intransitive verb To clear (an area) by freeing of weeds or other vegetation.
  • intransitive verb To clear (a channel or pipe) by flushing.
  • intransitive verb To scrub something in order to clean or polish it.
  • intransitive verb To have diarrhea. Used of livestock.
  • noun A scouring action or effect.
  • noun A place that has been scoured, as by flushing with water.
  • noun A cleansing agent for wool.
  • noun Diarrhea in livestock.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To pass through the soil without the latter adhering, the blade being thus rubbed bright: said of an agricultural implement.
  • To cleanse by hard rubbing; clean by friction; make clean and bright on the surface by rubbing; brighten.
  • To cleanse from grease and dirt by rubbing or scrubbing thoroughly with soap, washing, rinsing, etc.; cleanse by scrubbing and the use of certain chemical appliances: as, to scour blankets, carpets, articles of dress, etc.; to scour woolens.
  • To cleanse or clean out by flushing, or by a violent flood of water.
  • To purge thoroughly or with violence; purge drastically.
  • To cleanse thoroughly in any way; free entirely from impurities, or whatever obstructs or is undesirable; clear; sweep clear; rid.
  • To remove by scouring; cleanse away; obliterate; efface.
  • To run over and scatter; clean out.
  • To rub a surface for the purpose of cleansing it.
  • To cleanse cloth; remove dirt or grease from a texture.
  • To be purged thoroughly or violently; use strong purgatives.
  • noun The violent removal of sand by the wind, especially when it blows through a funnel-shaped pass or canon.
  • noun The clearing action of a strong, swift current through a narrow channel; the removal of more or less of the material at the bottom of a river or tidal channel by the action of a current of water flowing over it with sufficient velocity to produce this effect.
  • noun A kind of diarrhea or dysentery among cattle or other animals; violent purging.
  • noun The material used in scouring or cleansing woolens, etc.
  • To run with celerity; scamper; scurry off or along.
  • To rove or range for the purpose of sweeping or taking something.
  • To run quickly over or along, especially in quest or as if in quest of something.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Diarrhœa or dysentery among cattle.
  • noun The act of scouring.
  • noun A place scoured out by running water, as in the bed of a stream below a fall.
  • transitive verb To rub hard with something rough, as sand or Bristol brick, especially for the purpose of cleaning; to clean by friction; to make clean or bright; to cleanse from grease, dirt, etc., as articles of dress.
  • transitive verb To purge.
  • transitive verb To remove by rubbing or cleansing; to sweep along or off; to carry away or remove, as by a current of water; -- often with off or away.
  • transitive verb To pass swiftly over; to brush along; to traverse or search thoroughly.
  • transitive verb To cleanse or clear, as by a current of water; to flush.
  • transitive verb a tumbling barrel. See under Tumbling.
  • transitive verb (Metal.) a basic slag, which attacks the lining of a shaft furnace.
  • transitive verb (Bot.) See Dutch rush, under Dutch.
  • transitive verb (Woolen Manuf.) a kind of fulling mill.
  • intransitive verb To clean anything by rubbing.
  • intransitive verb To cleanse anything.
  • intransitive verb To be purged freely; to have a diarrhœa.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English scouren, to move swiftly, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skūr, shower.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English scouren, from Middle Dutch scūren, from Old French escurer, from Late Latin excūrāre, to clean out : Latin ex-, ex-, Late Latin cūrāre, to clean (from Latin, to take care of, from cūra, care; see cure).]


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