scramble

verb
scram·​ble | \ ˈskram-bəl How to pronounce scramble (audio) \
scrambled; scrambling\ ˈskram-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce scramble (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 scramble (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 Still, as much as countries like Germany and France have fumbled inoculations, the latest figures show that Europe’s real problem is slower-than-expected procurement of vaccines themselves, causing every state to scramble for more. BostonGlobe.com, "Vaccine ‘fiasco’ damages Europe’s credibility," 2 Apr. 2021 Still, as much as countries like Germany and France have fumbled inoculations, the latest figures show that Europe’s real problem is slower-than-expected procurement of vaccines themselves, causing every state to scramble for more. New York Times, "Vaccine ‘Fiasco’ Damages Europe’s Credibility," 2 Apr. 2021 Since then, other MLB teams have been scrambling to catch up, and the Giants are determined to scramble to the head of that pack. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "Are Giants chasing new-age fantasies or are tapping into something real?," 31 Mar. 2021 While a bunch of other teams scramble to find their next guy, the Browns have theirs. Dan Labbe, cleveland, "Browns finally have stability at quarterback while other teams are searching: Orange and Brown Talk Podcast," 29 Mar. 2021 State health leaders on Wednesday assured the public, once again, that the COVID-19 vaccine will not scramble the body’s DNA. Sarah Nelson, The Indianapolis Star, "Indiana leaders bust myths about mRNA coronavirus vaccines," 25 Mar. 2021 Seeing people in Ukraine scramble to find work, my parents felt convinced that with fluent English and an American degree, the doors would open up for me. Mariya Manzhos, Washington Post, "I Had No Plans to Become an American. . .," 24 Mar. 2021 While school administrators scramble to pin down dates and locations, some students are getting a jump start on their own planning rituals. Madeline Mitchell, The Enquirer, "'A rite of passage': Cincinnati-area schools plan for proms with COVID-19 precautions," 23 Mar. 2021 Taiwan was able to scramble just 48 F-86 Sabres to intercept. Alex Hollings, Popular Mechanics, "The Almost-Unbelievable True Story of the Sidewinder Missile," 21 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Mead said donations for the scramble were up this year because people are just excited about spring and the Easter season. David Sharos, chicagotribune.com, "Families ‘glad to see spring’ take part in Aurora church’s traditional Easter egg hunt," 27 Mar. 2021 With Bobrovsky down on the ice after a scramble in front, Kane skated in and flipped the puck into the net for his 13th of the season. Jay Cohen, sun-sentinel.com, "Miserable road trip continues as slumping Panthers shut out in Chicago," 25 Mar. 2021 These supply-chain problems should ease this summer, but semiconductor firms are using the scramble for chips to lobby Washington to support domestic manufacturing. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Semiconductor Shortage," 12 Mar. 2021 As always, the scramble for technical talent will be especially challenging. Domini Clark, Forbes, "Avoid The 2021 Rush: Hire Top Technical Talent Now," 1 Mar. 2021 The Ravens’ effervescent quarterback had a grin after a fourth-quarter scramble for a first down, his legs moving the sticks and cranking up his teammates’ delight. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, "Sparked by Lamar Jackson, Ravens roll past Cowboys, 34-17, to keep playoff hopes alive," 8 Dec. 2020 After a scramble off a corner kick in the 19th minute, defender Pablo Bonilla fired a ball into the box that Niezgoda nodded into the goal. oregonlive, "Portland Timbers clinch spot in MLS Cup playoffs, rout troubled LA Galaxy," 29 Oct. 2020 The scramble for firewood in the last minutes of light always leads to corner-cutting, and perhaps nowhere is this more common than in the search for dry wood. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, "10 Ways to Screw Up a Campfire (and How to Fix Them)," 28 Dec. 2020 Recognizing the need, relaxed rules for telehealth were written into many pandemic emergency orders, including in Minnesota, setting up a scramble to retune health care delivery. Glenn Howatt, Star Tribune, "COVID-19 pandemic fuels telehealth expansion," 27 Mar. 2021

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

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scramble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scramble. Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on scramble

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