Etymology
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scarify (v.)

late 14c., scarifien, "make shallow incisions in (the body) to let blood or drain pus," from Old French scarifier "score, scrape" leather or hide (14c.), from Late Latin scarificare, from Latin scarifare "scratch open," from Greek skariphasthai "to scratch an outline, sketch," from skariphos "pencil, stylus" (from PIE root *skribh- "to cut, separate, sift").

By mid-15c. of tree trunks. The meaning "cover with scars" (1680s) is a sense-shift from influence of scar (v.). Related: Scarified; scarifier; scarifying.

updated on January 19, 2022

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Definitions of scarify from WordNet

scarify (v.)
puncture and scar (the skin), as for purposes or tribal identification or rituals;
The men in some African tribes scarify their faces
scarify (v.)
scratch the surface of;
scarify seeds
scarify (v.)
break up;
scarify soil
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.