scourge

A scourge is a whip — or anything else that is punishing and dreadful. You could confront "a scourge of corruption" or "a scourge of hunger."

As a verb, scourge means to cause suffering. Not surprisingly, it comes from the old French word meaning "to whip." A dictatorship could scourge and oppress its citizens, and an infectious disease could scourge an entire community. When you see scourge, think "suffering."

Definitions of scourge
1

n something causing misery or death

Synonyms:
bane, curse, nemesis
Type of:
affliction
a cause of great suffering and distress

n a person who inspires fear or dread

Synonyms:
terror, threat
Type of:
individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul
a human being

n a whip used to inflict punishment (often used for pedantic humor)

Synonyms:
flagellum
Type of:
whip
an instrument with a handle and a flexible lash that is used for whipping

v cause extensive destruction or ruin utterly

Synonyms:
desolate, devastate, lay waste to, ravage, waste
Types:
ruin
reduce to ruins
Type of:
destroy, ruin
destroy completely; damage irreparably

v punish severely; excoriate

Type of:
penalise, penalize, punish
impose a penalty on; inflict punishment on

v whip

Synonyms:
flagellate
Type of:
flog, lash, lather, slash, strap, trounce, welt, whip
beat severely with a whip or rod

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