scav·enge | \ˈska-vənj, -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

Hundreds of pairs flock to the city to scavenge for fish near markets and canals. Elaina Zachos, National Geographic, "Why This Zoo Lion Killed a Lost Water Bird," 28 June 2018 Previous research, Serpell said, has found that free-roaming dogs in developing countries, who must scavenge to fill their bellies, eat quite a lot of human feces. Robert Rhoden,, "Cat beaten, stabbed and set on fire in Baltimore: report," 19 Jan. 2018 There were also many women scavenging in these harsh conditions. Photographs And Text By Ivor Prickett, New York Times, "‘Here Is the Graveyard of ISIS’: In Mosul, the Garbage Men Collect Remains," 6 May 2018 Other things the young Scramuzza would do to bring home money: selling newspapers and shining shoes in Exchange Alley, as well as selling duck eggs scavenged in City Park. Mike Scott,, "Part showman, part pitchman and all homegrown personality," 28 Oct. 2017 The second, is that the tortoise died near the pond from starvation or heat stroke in the arid environment and a nearby crocodile scavenged its rotting carapace. Nicholas St. Fleur, New York Times, "Ancient Crocodiles Once Feasted on Giant Tortoises on This Island," 23 Jan. 2018 This also means that some people are fixing their Aibos with parts scavenged from other broken Aibos, as production of the line stopped eight years ago. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Sony Robo-Dog Owners Can No Longer Repair Their Pups," 19 June 2015 The rats scavenging for food drive Marcus Emery crazy at night. Otis R. Taylor Jr., San Francisco Chronicle, "Homeless man in Oakland lives in a box while waiting to move in to a shed," 11 May 2018 Aki now spends her time daytripping through the French countryside, pilgrimaging to the town of Lille for its annual Grande Braderie and scavenging at the Parisian flea markets of Brocantes and Vide Grenier. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Madame de la Maison Will Help You Set Your Table With French Country Antiques," 10 Mar. 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

28 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for scavenge

The first known use of scavenge was circa 1644

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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 \
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

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