Definitions

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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To clean, polish, or wash something by scrubbing it vigorously.
  • v. To search an area thoroughly.
  • v. Of livestock, to suffer from diarrhea.
  • v. To move swiftly.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. 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 v. To purge.
  • transitive v. 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 v. To pass swiftly over; to brush along; to traverse or search thoroughly.
  • transitive v. To cleanse or clear, as by a current of water; to flush.
  • intransitive v. To clean anything by rubbing.
  • intransitive v. To cleanse anything.
  • intransitive v. To be purged freely; to have a diarrhœa.
  • intransitive v. To run swiftly; to rove or range in pursuit or search of something; to scamper.
  • n. Diarrhœa or dysentery among cattle.
  • n. The act of scouring.
  • n. A place scoured out by running water, as in the bed of a stream below a fall.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A kind of diarrhea or dysentery among cattle or other animals; violent purging.
  • n. 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.
  • To pass through the soil without the latter adhering, the blade being thus rubbed bright: said of an agricultural implement.
  • n. The violent removal of sand by the wind, especially when it blows through a funnel-shaped pass or canon.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. clean with hard rubbing
  • n. a place that is scoured (especially by running water)
  • v. examine minutely
  • v. rub hard or scrub
  • v. rinse, clean, or empty with a liquid

Etymologies

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).
Middle English scouren, to move swiftly, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skūr, shower.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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