scramble

verb
scram·​ble | \ˈskram-bəl \
scrambled; scrambling\ˈskram-​b(ə-​)liŋ \

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 \ 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

Still, even as retailers scramble to fill the hole, in many cases that won’t be enough. Anne D'innocenzio, The Seattle Times, "Retailers aim to pick up business from defunct, dying rivals," 21 Nov. 2018 This weekend's legal drama came as Tesla was scrambling to wrap up its pivotal third quarter. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "SEC settlement sends Tesla stock soaring," 1 Oct. 2018 While other designers might be scrambling to reconfigure their samples and production to accommodate new sizes, inclusivity is firmly built into the foundation of her brand. Emily Farra, Vogue, "This Demi-Couture Line Is Bringing Inclusive Sizing to the World of Eveningwear," 25 July 2018 Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images Here’s what went on behind the scenes as Amazon engineers scrambled to fix Prime Day glitches that disrupted the e-commerce behemoth’s biggest sale day of the year. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Behind the scenes at Amazon’s Prime Day disaster," 20 July 2018 In Puerto Rico, the Category 4 Hurricane Maria knocked out communications and left more than 3.5 million residents without power for months while FEMA scrambled to provide food and water and restore electricity. Arelis R. Hernandez, OrlandoSentinel.com, "FEMA admits failures in Puerto Rico disaster response, after-action report reveals," 13 July 2018 In Puerto Rico, the Category 4 Hurricane Maria knocked out communications and left more than 3.5 million residents without power for months while FEMA scrambled to provide food and water and restore electricity. Arelis R. Hernández, Washington Post, "FEMA admits failures in Puerto Rico disaster response, in after-action report," 12 July 2018 The Supreme Court’s temporary stay sent the plaintiffs scrambling to put together a brief in time to keep the case moving forward on schedule. Umair Irfan, Vox, "The Supreme Court just allowed a major climate lawsuit to go ahead," 3 Nov. 2018 Environmental concerns aside, that will leave many other players in the economy scrambling to adapt. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Ethanol’s Field of Dreams Gets More Real," 9 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There could be a scramble to hash out some change to the deal in Brussels that could be triumphantly presented to lawmakers in London, which could lead to a second parliamentary vote in January. Max Colchester, WSJ, "May Looks to Public to Back Brexit Deal," 26 Nov. 2018 Nearby is a short scramble down to the swimming hole. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Sunday getaway to Samuel P. Taylor State Park," 8 July 2018 At that intersection would also be a scramble, or diagonal crosswalk, which is similar to the one found in Old Pasadena on Colorado Boulevard. Anthony Clark Carpio, latimes.com, "No decision made on Olive-Verdugo-Sparks intersection project," 30 June 2018 Had Trump vetoed the bill, there would have been a mad scramble of lawmakers returning to town to cobble together a new bill; in the meantime, the government would run out of money at midnight on Friday and shut down. Nash Jenkins, Time, "Lawmakers Mostly Ignored Trump's Empty Veto Threat," 23 Mar. 2018 Developers raced to put up new multifamily buildings after the recession in 2009, a scramble generated by the dearth of investment during the downturn and the growing demand for rental properties after the housing bust. Micah Maidenberg, WSJ, "Apartment Developers Are Slowing Construction. That Could Mean Higher Rents.," 13 Nov. 2018 The scramble does, however, reflect that the administration isn’t content to start flatly violating existing law and procedure simply on Trump’s say-so. Dara Lind, Vox, "Exclusive: even before the caravan, Trump took steps to use travel bans to limit asylum," 6 Nov. 2018 With President Donald Trump signing an executive order ending the separations and a subsequent scramble to reunite families with a formal policy in place, the issue human rights at the border has been thrust into the global spotlight. Marilyn La Jeunesse, Teen Vogue, "The Difference Between "Migrant" and "Immigrant"," 23 Oct. 2018 Buy Photo The scramble to open new medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers across New Jersey has begun. Jan Hefler, Philly.com, "Medical marijuana dispensary expands in South Jersey, eyes new locations in Cherry Hill and Moorestown," 10 June 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

4 Dec 2018

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 \
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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