scav·​enge | \ ˈska-vənj How to pronounce scavenge (audio) , -vinj\
scavenged; scavenging

Definition of scavenge

transitive verb

1a(1) : to remove (dirt, refuse, etc.) from an area
(2) : to clean away dirt or refuse from : cleanse scavenge a street
b : to feed on (carrion or refuse)
2a : to remove (burned gases) from the cylinder of an internal combustion engine after a working stroke
b : to remove (something, such as an undesirable constituent) from a substance or region by chemical or physical means
c : to clean and purify (molten metal) by taking up foreign elements in chemical union
3 : to salvage from discarded or refuse material also : to salvage usable material from

intransitive verb

: to work or act as a scavenger

Examples of scavenge in a Sentence

Rats scavenged in the trash. The bears scavenged the woods for food. He scavenged the town dump for automobile parts.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Finally, the label also scavenged scraps of couture fabrics that were sample swatches or leftovers (not enough to create full garments) and used them as design features. Kristen Bateman, Teen Vogue, "Schueller de Waal Turned Their Couture Week Show Into A Street Cleanup in The Name Of Fashion Therapy," 3 July 2019 Any self-respecting carnivore would scavenge if given the opportunity. Christine Dell'amore, National Geographic, "Hyenas have a bad rap—but they’re Africa’s most successful predator," 14 June 2019 According to Reuters, the number of scavenging polar bears invading remote villages in northern Russia recently became so pronounced and potentially dangerous that a state of emergency was declared. Kelli Bender,, "Exhausted, Starving Polar Bear Wanders Miles from Habitat to Search for Food in Russian City," 18 June 2019 But the dingoes in the Tanami didn’t just scavenge scraps. Quanta Magazine, "A Domesticated Dingo? No, but Some Are Getting Less Wild," 23 Jan. 2018 The wax esters carried traces of archaea cell membranes, so the researchers hypothesize that the bacteria scavenged remains of archaea. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "The Not So Dead Sea: Traces of Ancient Bacteria Found in the Lake’s Sediments," 5 June 2019 The rhythms of play are functionally the same: drop, scavenge, fight. Julie Muncy, Ars Technica, "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 review: War games, now with battle royale!," 19 Oct. 2018 This maelstrom is a ravaged place where champions scavenge keys in hope of unlocking hallowed vaults. Charlie Theel, Ars Technica, "KeyForge: The red-hot card game where every deck is unique—and unchangeable," 15 Dec. 2018 Hundreds of officials from the FBI and Gastonia police and fire scavenged the park during the last six days looking for Maddox. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Police searching for mysterious man in white truck who may have been last to see missing boy with autism," 28 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scavenge.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of scavenge

circa 1644, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for scavenge

back-formation from scavenger

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Statistics for scavenge

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scavenge

The first known use of scavenge was circa 1644

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More Definitions for scavenge



English Language Learners Definition of scavenge

of an animal : to search for food to eat
: to search through waste, junk, etc., for something that can be saved or used


scav·​enge | \ ˈska-vənj How to pronounce scavenge (audio) \
scavenged; scavenging

Kids Definition of scavenge

: to search through and collect usable items especially from what has been thrown away

More from Merriam-Webster on scavenge

Spanish Central: Translation of scavenge

Nglish: Translation of scavenge for Spanish Speakers

Comments on scavenge

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