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

The big brands are scrambling to design V4 liter bikes—sport bikes with 1000cc engines, or thereabouts—and making major noise about the V4’s triumphant return to public roads. Matthew Jancer, Popular Mechanics, "The New Age of the V4 Road Bike," 26 Apr. 2019 The owners are scrambling to court higher-minded plutocrats, however. Alex Bhattacharji, Town & Country, "An Empty Lot Above Beverly Hills Is the Most Expensive Real Estate in the World," 17 Jan. 2019 Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images House Republicans are scrambling to find their Nancy Pelosi. Tara Golshan, Vox, "The fight to lead House Republicans now that they’re in the minority, explained," 8 Nov. 2018 The European Union and the United Kingdom have been scrambling to reach an agreement by the end of the year, to give both the UK and EU parliaments time to ratify it before the approaching March 29, 2019 deadline. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Theresa May gets cabinet approval for her draft Brexit deal," 14 Nov. 2018 At the Texas border with Mexico, activists who don't know indigenous languages were scrambling to find ways to communicate with a wave of Guatemalan migrant families, said Brenda Riojas, spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese in Brownsville. Anita Snow, The Christian Science Monitor, "Indigenous language interpreters help asylum-seekers at the border," 2 July 2018 But with most court dates months away, the immigrants were scrambling to join families in cities to the north. Todd Heisler, New York Times, "A Long Journey North for Migrants That May End Where It Started," 30 June 2018 There were reports Friday that White House officials were scrambling to get a lid on the tense relations, especially with China, which has threatened to match any U.S. action tariff for tariff. David Lazarus, latimes.com, "California Inc.: 'Sicario' sequel unlikely to vanquish dinosaurs, superheroes," 25 June 2018 Three medics were scrambling to pull gear from the truck: IVs, an inflatable backboard, drugs, and medical supplies. Kyle Dickman, Outside Online, "A Rattle with Death in Yosemite," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But rivals haven’t followed, which could set the two investment banks back in the competitive scramble for junior employees. Liz Hoffman, WSJ, "Goldman, JPMorgan Eased Up on Early Intern Recruiting. Others Haven’t.," 8 Mar. 2019 But in the mad scramble to make and sell SUVs of all shapes and sizes, the sleepy old station wagon started to look like strategic white space. Kyle Stock, The Seattle Times, "Richer Americans are skipping SUVs for station wagons," 7 Jan. 2019 In the past, this signaled a mad scramble to find any solution that actually worked. Sarah Wu, Glamour, "This Drugstore Baby Product Keeps My Skin Moisturized All Winter Long," 13 Dec. 2018 The trail is easy to follow, and any increase in your heart rate is due to exercise, not anxiety about navigating the scramble that the front of the mountain offers. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "12 Anchorage-area hikes you can do in about 5 hours or less," 15 June 2018 Registration and the putting contest begin at 10:30 a.m. The shotgun scramble starts at noon. Courant Community, "Community News For The Valley Edition," 5 June 2018 The scramble for handouts lasted less than two minutes. John Lyons, WSJ, "Aid Slowly Reaches Indonesia Tsunami Victims," 4 Oct. 2018 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

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

22 May 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

Comments on scramble

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