Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

scratch

play
verb \ˈskrach\

Simple Definition of scratch

  • : to rub your skin with something sharp (such as your fingernails) especially in order to stop an itch

  • : to make a shallow and narrow cut in (your skin) with something sharp (such as fingernails, claws, etc.)

  • : to rub a surface or object with something sharp or rough in a way that produces a harsh sound

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of scratch

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to scrape or dig with the claws or nails

  3. 2 :  to rub and tear or mark the surface of with something sharp or jagged

  4. 3a :  to scrape or rub lightly (as to relieve itching)b :  to act on (a desire) —used with itch <scratch the itch to travel>

  5. 4 :  to scrape together :  collect with difficulty or by effort <scratch out a living>

  6. 5 :  to write or draw on a surface

  7. 6a :  to cancel or erase by or as if by drawing a line throughb :  to withdraw (an entry) from competition

  8. 7 :  scribble, scrawl

  9. 8 :  to scrape along a rough surface <scratch a match>

  10. intransitive verb
  11. 1 :  to use the claws or nails in digging, tearing, or wounding

  12. 2 :  to scrape or rub oneself lightly (as to relieve itching)

  13. 3 :  to gather money or make a living by hard work and especially through irregular means and sacrifice <had to scratch and save for college>

  14. 4a :  to make a thin grating soundb :  to produce a rhythmic scratching sound by moving a phonograph record back and forth under a phonograph needle

  15. 5 :  to withdraw from a contest or engagement

  16. 6 :  to make a scratch in billiards or pool

scratcher noun
scratch one's back
  1. :  to accommodate with a favor especially in expectation of like return

scratch one's head
  1. :  to be or become confused or perplexed

scratch the surface
  1. :  to make a modest effort or start

Examples of scratch in a sentence

  1. Will you scratch my back for me?

  2. Scratching the itch only makes it worse.

  3. The dog scratched its ear.

  4. You shouldn't scratch. It'll just make your itch worse.

  5. Thorns scratched our legs as we climbed through the briars.

  6. Careful, the cat will scratch.

  7. The dog was scratching at the door.

  8. Be careful not to scratch the table.

  9. Someone scratched the paint on my car.

  10. The little boy scratched lines in the dirt with a stick.



Origin of scratch

Middle English scracchen, probably blend of scratten to scratch and cracchen to scratch


First Known Use: 15th century

Rhymes with scratch


2

scratch

noun

Simple Definition of scratch

  • : a line or mark in the surface of something that is caused by something rough or sharp rubbing against it

  • : a shallow and narrow cut in the skin that is caused by something sharp

  • : the sound made when something sharp rubs against a surface or object

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of scratch

  1. 1 :  a mark or injury produced by scratching; also :  a slight wound

  2. 2 :  scrawl, scribble

  3. 3 :  the sound made by scratching

  4. 4 :  the starting line in a race

  5. 5a :  a test of courageb :  satisfactory condition, level, or performance <not up to scratch>

  6. 6 :  a contestant whose name is withdrawn

  7. 7 :  poultry feed (as mixed grains) scattered on the litter or ground especially to induce birds to exercise —called also scratch feed

  8. 8a :  a shot in billiards or pool that ends a player's turn; specifically :  a shot in pool in which the cue ball falls into the pocketb :  a shot that scores by chance :  fluke

  9. 9 slang :  money, funds

from scratch
  1. 1 :  from a point at which nothing has been done ahead of time <build a school system from scratch>

  2. 2 :  without using a prepared mixture of ingredients <bake a cake from scratch>

Examples of scratch in a sentence

  1. There's a scratch in the paint on the new car!

  2. The table is an antique but it doesn't have any dents or scratches.

  3. I got a scratch on my leg when I climbed the fence.

  4. The only sound in the room during the test was the scratch of pencils on paper.

  5. We don't have the scratch to buy a new car.



Did You Know?

The phrase up to scratch has its origins in the world of sports. In the 18th century, scratch began to be used for a line or mark that served as the starting point in a contest or competition. In order to begin or continue a fight, for example, a pugilist would "come up to the scratch," positioning himself at a line drawn across the prize ring. Up to the scratch was soon being used figuratively of anyone who was ready and able to do something. Over the years, the usage of the phrase has evolved somewhat, but something that is "up to scratch" can still be said to be ready and able in that it is capable of functioning or performing as expected.

Circa 1586

First Known Use of scratch

circa 1586


3

scratch

adjective

Simple Definition of scratch

  • of a golfer : having no handicap

  • : put together quickly and without enough planning or thought

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of scratch

  1. 1 :  arranged or put together with little selection :  haphazard <a scratch team>

  2. 2 :  made as or used for a tentative effort

  3. 3 :  made or done by chance and not as intended <a scratch shot>

  4. 4 :  having no handicap or allowance <a scratch golfer>

  5. 5 :  made from scratch :  made with basic ingredients <a scratch cake>

1851

First Known Use of scratch

1851



SCRATCH Defined for Kids

1

scratch

play
verb \ˈskrach\

Definition of scratch for Students

scratchedscratching

  1. 1 :  to scrape or rub lightly <scratch an itch> <He scratched his head.>

  2. 2 :  to injure by scraping with something sharp <He scratched his thumb on a nail.>

  3. 3 :  to make a scraping noise <The dog was scratching at the door.>

  4. 4 :  to erase by scraping <I scratched out my mistake.>




2

scratch

play
noun

Definition of scratch for Students

  1. :  a mark or injury made by scraping with something sharp





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up scratch? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by grandiloquent style

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

soothe reduce disapprove perplex
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ