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 At the time, Smith didn’t have internet in her home and had to scramble to get connected. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage parents weigh difficult choices as an unpredictable school year edges closer," 31 July 2020 As virus cases surge, Bay Area counties scramble to adjust reopening plans. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: ‘The real pandemic is homelessness’," 8 July 2020 Some of the bills fell during the exchange, causing Riley to scramble to pick up the cash, the FBI said. John Caniglia, cleveland, "‘So incredibly sad’: Bribery charges bring disappointment to Toledo as FBI accuses four council members in scheme," 5 July 2020 Real bugs don’t skate, per se, but these and others do occasionally scramble or dart cross-current more than a few inches at a time. Dave Hurteau, Field & Stream, "Skate, Skitter, and Twitch Dry Flies for Trout," 26 June 2020 George Floyd's brother will testify before a key House committee on Wednesday, as lawmakers scramble to respond to nationwide protests demanding an end to police violence against black Americans. Editors, USA TODAY, "George Floyd's brother testifies before Congress, Mall of America reopens, Federal Reserve meeting: 5 things to know Wednesday," 10 June 2020 Julie Washington reports there has been little research, though, as schools scramble to make plans. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "Ohio adds six counties to red-alert status, with mask mandate: The Wake Up for Friday, July 10, 2020," 10 July 2020 United, Delta, American and other airlines have been urging workers to take early retirements, buyouts and other voluntary measures as the carriers scramble to cut costs. NBC News, "United Airlines warns 36,000 employees of potential job cuts as travel continues its slump," 8 July 2020 As Florida educators puzzle over how to start the new academic year, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration seemed to scramble their plans Monday. Andrew Marra, USA TODAY, "Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.," 8 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With remote learning part of an increasing number of fall reopening plans, districts are facing pressure to improve after many students got left behind this spring in the scramble to close schools during the coronavirus pandemic. Carolyn Thompson, Star Tribune, "Virtual school: Teachers want to improve but training varies," 1 Aug. 2020 In their scramble for safety, shoppers run straight through racks of clothes, and items scatter across the floor. Dallas Morning News, "‘Every day is a struggle’: El Paso, one year later," 31 July 2020 Cole Custer became the first rookie winner in the NASCAR Cup Series in nearly four years, surging to the lead in a four-wide, final-lap scramble Sunday at Kentucky Speedway. Fox News, "Rookie Cole Custer wins Kentucky NASCAR Cup Series race," 13 July 2020 His scramble against Baylor in triple overtime (that was ultimately ruled to not be a touchdown) is prime evidence of that, as is his 46-yard touchdown against Kansas State that included a devastating stiff arm. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "10 things to know about TCU quarterback Max Duggan: The Horned Frog signal-caller is ready for stardom," 3 July 2020 In 2001, against the Miami Dolphins, Vick had more than one lucrative scramble. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "Michael Vick turns 40. Here's a flashback to some his most electric runs in NFL," 26 June 2020 New York faces a gold rush after the pandemic threw precious-metal markets into disarray, setting off a scramble by traders to cut their losses. Joe Wallace, WSJ, "A Scramble for Gold Is Redrawing the Map of the Market," 11 June 2020 Cole Custer became the first rookie winner in the NASCAR Cup Series in nearly four years, surging to the lead in a four-wide, final-lap scramble Sunday at Kentucky Speedway. Fox News, "Rookie Cole Custer wins Kentucky NASCAR Cup Series race," 13 July 2020 Development and production delays this year promise to make that more of a scramble than usual. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Ford Mach-E, Cadillac Escalade, Nissan Sentra among contenders for vehicles of the year," 7 July 2020

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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Time Traveler for scramble

Time Traveler

The first known use of scramble was in 1568

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Statistics for scramble

Last Updated

7 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scramble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scramble. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for scramble

scramble

verb
How to pronounce scramble (audio)

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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Comments on scramble

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