Scathing refers to a remark, criticism or comment that is severely critical or harsh, often with the intention of causing harm or embarrassment.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



cutting, biting, sarcastic, caustic, withering, acerbic, harsh, severe, critical, fierce, blistering, stinging.


Praise, complimentary, laudatory, flattering, gentle, kind, mild, pleasant, approving.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun None
Verb None
Adjective scathing
Adverb scathingly

Example Sentences

  • Eva’s scathing remarks left George feeling deeply hurt and undermined his confidence.

  • The movie critic wrote a scathing review that had a negative impact on the film’s box office sales.

  • His scathing comments on the poor hygiene standards of the restaurant were taken seriously and led to immediate improvements.

  • The political commentator delivered a scathing attack on the opposition leader during the live debate.


The adjective scathing is used to describe a harsh or bitter criticism that is meant to hurt, offend, or strongly condemn something or someone. It can be used in a variety of contexts, including literary criticism, movie reviews, political debates, and personal relationships. The word can be used with or without a prefix or suffix to modify its meaning, and it comes from the verb scathe, which means “to harm or injure.”

Some variations of the word scathing include the prefix un-, which can be added to the beginning of the word to create the adjective unscathing, meaning “not harsh or critical.” The suffix -ly can also be added to create the adverb scathingly, which means “in a critical or mocking manner.” Other words that share a similar meaning to scathing include cutting, biting, withering, caustic, and acerbic.

Scathing remarks can be hurtful and have a powerful impact on a person’s emotions and self-esteem, especially when they are directed at something personal, like an individual’s appearance, work performance, or values. In some cases, scathing criticism can be constructive and help the person improve, but it can also be destructive and lead to a breakdown in relationships or loss of confidence.

Overall, the word scathing is a powerful and evocative adjective that is used to convey a strong sense of disapproval, criticism, or condemnation. It is an effective tool for expressing negative opinions or feelings, but it should be used with caution, as it can also cause harm and offense.