September 29, 2012
scour (verb)
\SKOW-er\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 a : to rub hard with something rough in order to clean b : to remove by rubbing hard and washing2 : to free from foreign substances or impurities by or as if by washing3 : to wear away (as by water) : erode
How do you use it?
"The hall, too, was scoured; and the great carved clock, as well as the steps and banisters of the staircase, were polished to the brightness of glass. . . " (Charlotte Bronte, _Jane Eyre_)
Are you a word wiz?

"Scour" traces back to the Latin root "cura." What do you think "cura" means?

If you took care to choose A, you were right! Latin "cura" means "care." From "cura" was formed "curare," meaning "to care for," and later "excurare," meaning "to clean off." "Excurare" then traveled through French to become "schuren" in Dutch, which was probably borrowed into English to form "scour." By the way, when you scour Word Central for information about words, you are using a different word "scour." This other "scour" means "to examine something thoroughly and rapidly" and "to move about or through quickly especially in search of something." Although it is spelled like today's Buzzword, it is a completely unrelated word and probably originated in Old Norse.
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