You could scald yourself if your bathwater is too hot. To scald something is to burn it with hot liquid. However, if a recipe tells you to “scald the milk,” it means to heat it to the moment just before it boils.

The verb scald comes from the Late Latin word excaldare, meaning “bathe in hot water.” For example, if you scald a tomato in boiling water for one minute, it will be easy to peel. In medieval times, or any era when people protected their castles by pouring hot oil from the turrets, they scalded their enemies. Nice.

Primary Meanings of scald

burn with a hot liquid or steam
the act of burning with steam or hot water
subject to harsh criticism
Full Definitions of scald

v burn with a hot liquid or steam

“She scalded her hands when she turned on the faucet and hot water came out”
Type of:
burn with heat, fire, or radiation

v treat with boiling water

scald tomatoes so that they can be peeled”
Type of:
process, treat
subject to a process or treatment, with the aim of readying for some purpose, improving, or remedying a condition

v heat to the boiling point

scald the milk”
Type of:
heat, heat up
make hot or hotter

n the act of burning with steam or hot water

Type of:
damage inflicted by fire

n a burn cause by hot liquid or steam

Type of:
an injury caused by exposure to heat or chemicals or radiation

v subject to harsh criticism

blister, whip
Type of:
assail, assault, attack, lash out, round, snipe
attack in speech or writing

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