scramble

verb
scram·​ble | \ ˈskram-bəl How to pronounce scramble (audio) \
scrambled; scrambling\ ˈskram-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce scrambling (audio) \

Definition of scramble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to move with urgency or panic scrambled to his feet
b : to move or climb hastily especially on all fours scramble over rocks
2a : to struggle eagerly or unceremoniously for possession of something scramble for front seats players scrambling for the ball
b : to get or gather something with difficulty or in irregular ways scramble for a living
3 : to spread or grow irregularly : sprawl, straggle
4 of an interceptor fighter aircraft : to take off quickly in response to an alert
5 of a football quarterback : to run with the ball after the pass protection breaks down

transitive verb

1 : to collect or put together hastily scramble up a dinner for unexpected guests
2a : to toss or mix together in confusion : to throw into disorder : jumble Bad weather often scrambles the train schedules. scrambled the pages of the manuscript
b : to prepare (eggs) by stirring during frying scramble some eggs for breakfast
3 : to cause or order (interceptor fighter aircraft) to take off quickly Keating said he ordered the fighters to be scrambled immediately after seeing information about the crash on television.— Lolita C. Baldor
4 : to disarrange the elements of a transmission (such as a telephone or television signal) in order to make unintelligible to interception

scramble

noun

Definition of scramble (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or an instance of scrambling: such as
a : the act of moving or climbing over something quickly especially on all fours a scramble over the boulders
b : a jostling and pushing for possession a scramble for the ball
c : an eager and unceremonious or unscrupulous struggle a scramble for power
d : a rapid emergency takeoff of interceptor fighter aircraft
e football : a play in which the quarterback runs with the ball while being chased by defensive players after the pass protection breaks down He gained 10 yards on the scramble.
2 : a disordered mass : jumble a … scramble of patterns and texturesVogue
3 golf : a team competition in which all the members of a team tee off on each hole, one of the tee shots is selected, all members hit shots from the position of the selected shot, one shot is again selected, and the process is continued until the hole is completed Sawgrass seemed a far cry from the first competitive golf event I ever played in, a weekend scramble at my local club.— David Owen

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Other Words from scramble

Verb

scrambler \ ˈskram-​b(ə-​)lər How to pronounce scrambler (audio) \ noun

Examples of scramble in a Sentence

Verb

We scrambled over the boulders and kept climbing up the mountain. He scrambled up the ramp. reporters scrambling to finish stories by deadline Both players scrambled for the ball. News of the factory closing found workers scrambling to find jobs. It started to rain, and we all scrambled for cover. I'll scramble some eggs for breakfast.

Noun

a quick scramble over boulders the scramble for power in the country a scramble for the ball There was a mad scramble to fill vacant positions at the school.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Thanks to the Tsar's endorsement, Barbe-Nicole soon found herself scrambling to keep up with the increased orders. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "You Have the Founding Mothers of Champagne to Thank for the Bubbly You Drink Today," 8 Mar. 2019 With not much time left to find another host, the Academy is left scrambling. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Why There Isn't an Oscars Host In 2019: A Comprehensive Timeline," 23 Feb. 2019 After announcing plans for a second, massive North American headquarters the equal of its presence in Seattle last September, cities scrambled to assemble bids to land Amazon, and threw themselves, and tax breaks, at the company. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Amazon HQ2 winner appears to be both New York and Crystal City, Virginia," 6 Nov. 2018 The team scrambled to find an older circuit board that could be swapped in, working all through the night, and eventually pulled it off in time for Sunday’s race. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "SpaceX’s hyperloop race was all about ‘maximum speed’ (and celebrating Elon Musk)," 28 July 2018 Crown everything that will sit still in front of you – from goetta and scrambled eggs in the morning to tacos at night – with the pickled onions. Mallorie Sullivan, Cincinnati.com, "Fourth of July food: Here are 9 last-minute recipes your guests will love," 3 July 2018 In late 2016, Google’s security team scrambled to fix a critical vulnerability that allowed attackers to gain unfettered root access to Android devices by using a relatively new class of exploit that manipulates data stored in memory chips. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "New RAMpage exploit revives Rowhammer attack to root Android devices," 2 July 2018 The eruption left emergency personnel scrambling to rescue those in the surrounding area. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Guatemala volcano eruption kills at least 65, forces thousands to evacuate," 2 Oct. 2018 Aircraft spend most of their time on the ground, scrambled in large numbers only in the event of war. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Does America Still Need the Nuclear Triad?," 23 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Labor Department website used by U.S. businesses to apply for this spring’s round of H-2B visas crashed after a scramble by employers chasing 33,000 available permits. Lalita Clozel, WSJ, "U.S. Employers Resume Fight for More H-2B Visas for Foreign Workers," 27 Feb. 2019 Nearly 300,000 households were still without home Internet, phone, or TV service yesterday in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, as telcos scramble to repair networks damaged by Hurricane Michael. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Verizon fiber suffered “unprecedented” damage from Hurricane Michael," 15 Oct. 2018 The law sent Native American voters into a scramble to provide street addresses, and carried the risk of disenfranchising an entire group of minority voters. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "This Democrat thinks voting rights should be one of the House’s first big priorities in January," 11 Dec. 2018 With demand soaring, lithium has joined other once-obscure metals, like cobalt, as an object of a global scramble. Scott Patterson, WSJ, "Deal to Create Chinese Lithium Giant Faces Legal Challenge," 21 Oct. 2018 That could alleviate some of the scramble for minutes in the middle. Ira Winderman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Heat may have to think big amid dwindling NBA need for size," 7 July 2018 Accounts of the scramble for survival are harrowing. Jasmine Khayami And Elizabeth Strassner, USA TODAY, "Collisions reveal a Navy tragically undone by its can-do spirit," 25 June 2018 This has led to a scramble by shopping-center landlords to seek alternative uses that include medical offices and fitness centers. Esther Fung, WSJ, "Google to Lease Office Space in a Los Angeles Mall," 8 Jan. 2019 The experience soon gives way to an anxious scramble for shelter, followed by tedious but tense days of waiting. Fox News, "Displaced by wildfires, evacuees work, wait amid uncertainty," 3 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scramble.' 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 scramble

Verb

1568, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

1648, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for scramble

Verb

perhaps alteration of scrabble entry 1

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Statistics for scramble

Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scramble

The first known use of scramble was in 1568

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More Definitions for scramble

scramble

verb

English Language Learners Definition of scramble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move or climb over something quickly especially while also using your hands
: to move or act quickly to do, find, or get something often before someone else does
: to prepare (eggs) by mixing the white and yellow parts together and then stirring the mixture in a hot pan

scramble

noun

English Language Learners Definition of scramble (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of moving or climbing over something quickly especially while also using your hands
: the act of moving or acting quickly to do, find, or get something
American football : a play in which the quarterback runs with the ball while being chased by defensive players

scramble

verb
scram·​ble | \ ˈskram-bəl How to pronounce scramble (audio) \
scrambled; scrambling

Kids Definition of scramble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move or climb quickly and if necessary on hands and knees … the boats were pushed into the water, and … we scrambled into them as best we could.— Scott O'Dell, Island of the Blue Dolphins
2 : to cook the mixed whites and yolks of eggs by stirring them while frying
3 : to put in the wrong order The letters of the word are scrambled.
4 : to work hard to win or escape something She had to scramble to earn a living.

scramble

noun

Kids Definition of scramble (Entry 2 of 2)

: a disorderly rush They heard … a scramble and a shout: “Call off your dog! …”— Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie

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More from Merriam-Webster on scramble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scramble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scramble

Spanish Central: Translation of scramble

Nglish: Translation of scramble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scramble for Arabic Speakers

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