: arranged or put together with little selection : haphazard
a scratch team
: made as or used for a tentative effort
: made or done by chance and not as intended
a scratch shot
: having no handicap or allowance
a scratch golfer
: made from scratch : made with basic ingredients
a scratch cake
scratch one's back
: to accommodate with a favor especially in expectation of like return
scratch one's head
: to be or become confused or perplexed
scratch the surface
: to make a modest effort or start
: from a point at which nothing has been done ahead of time
build a school system from scratch
: without using a prepared mixture of ingredients
bake a cake from scratch
Did you know?
The phrase up to scratch has its origins in the world of sports. In the 18th century, scratch began to be used for a line or mark that served as the starting point in a contest or competition. In order to begin or continue a fight, for example, a pugilist would "come up to the scratch," positioning himself at a line drawn across the prize ring. Up to the scratch was soon being used figuratively of anyone who was ready and able to do something. Over the years, the usage of the phrase has evolved somewhat, but something that is "up to scratch" can still be said to be ready and able in that it is capable of functioning or performing as expected.
Will you scratch my back for me? Scratching the itch only makes it worse.
The dog scratched its ear.
You shouldn't scratch. It'll just make your itch worse.
Thorns scratched our legs as we climbed through the briars.
Careful, the cat will scratch.
The dog was scratching at the door.
Be careful not to scratch the table.
Someone scratched the paint on my car.
The little boy scratched lines in the dirt with a stick. Noun
There's a scratch in the paint on the new car!
The table is an antique but it doesn't have any dents or scratches.
I got a scratch on my leg when I climbed the fence.
The only sound in the room during the test was the scratch of pencils on paper.
We don't have the scratch to buy a new car. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Until Christmas Day, get up to 25 percent off select Disney Resort hotels to scratch that Disney Adult — or kid!—Dan Koday, Travel + Leisure, 28 Nov. 2023 To clean the outside of a trash can, stick to a microfiber cloth, particularly if it's made of a material that can be easily scratched such as stainless steel.—Mary Cornetta, Better Homes & Gardens, 28 Nov. 2023 Pets can make a house a home, but stopping your cats from scratching the furniture isn’t always easy.—Sophia Solano, Washington Post, 28 Nov. 2023 And that’s just scratching the surface: Valentino, Paco Rabanne, YSL, Viktor&Rolf, and Creed are also up for grabs.—Shanna Shipin, Glamour, 27 Nov. 2023 And for indoor-only cats, chasing a furry object, gnawing on it, and bringing it to a secure spot may playfully scratch a predatory itch that might otherwise go unsated.—Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 22 Nov. 2023 Take five minutes to discover the varied, explosive, resonant sounds of percussion instruments, whether struck, shaken, pounded or scratched.—Manohla Dargis, New York Times, 22 Nov. 2023 Trending That’s also a Hunger Games staple, of course, and this imperfect yet surprising prequel knows that even those who haven’t read the book(s) will want that itch scratched.—David Fear, Rolling Stone, 16 Nov. 2023 Avoid touching or scratching at the affected areas, which worsens symptoms.—Anthea Levi, Health, 14 Nov. 2023
With the guidance and support of Rachel Cantu, who was VP of Supply Chain at Patagonia for 5 years, Leone set out to build a supply chain from scratch for all the materials used in products.—Esha Chhabra, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 Restarting from scratch, however, many Missouri wineries settled into a niche of producing cheap, sweet wines, as most Americans who could afford to bought European wine, which was increasingly easy and affordable to import by steamship.—Alex Mayyasi, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 Nov. 2023 Get The Recipe 28 of 28 Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate chip cookies will never disappoint, especially when they're made from scratch.—Jenna Sims, Southern Living, 28 Nov. 2023 Price at time of publication: $40 The Details: Kit includes: Easy build trays, bag of icing, Kit Kat bars, Smarties, Kit Kat Santa, sprinkles
Making your own gingerbread house from scratch can feel really intimidating, but this Baketivity kit makes the process much more approachable.—Jessica Booth, Parents, 19 Nov. 2023 AirPods Leather Case Give your Airpods a sleek upgrade with this minimalistic leather case, which matches everything and also keep its protected from marks and scratches.—Anna Tingley, Variety, 16 Nov. 2023 The ergonomic design of this chair provides solid back support, and the plastic material is highly durable against scratches and long-term wear.—Sanah Faroke, Peoplemag, 16 Nov. 2023 Argentina’s election has quickly become a testing ground for A.I. in campaigns, with the two candidates and their supporters employing the technology to doctor existing images and videos and create others from scratch.—Lucía Cholakian Herrera, New York Times, 15 Nov. 2023 In the book, Li describes her journey falling in love with physics alongside her experience immigrating from Chengdu, China to the U.S. at age 15 and learning English from scratch.—Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, 15 Nov. 2023
The lens also has an anti-scratch coating.—Eric Alt, Popular Science, 20 Jan. 2021 Shop our favorite affordable Amazon gadgets, tools, and wares below: 1 Joseph Joseph Dish Brush With Integrated Sink Rest This curved, non-scratch brush offers thorough cleaning and won’t take up counter space.—Megan Lasher, Popular Mechanics, 16 Mar. 2023 The same cleaning wisdom broadly applies here—use dish soap, warm water, and a non-scratch sponge.—Li Goldstein, Bon Appétit, 13 Feb. 2023 It’s also equipped with an anti-scratch brush roll that’s designed to keep your hardwood free from damage while also being compatible with carpet.—Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, 10 July 2020 With an anti-fog, anti-scratch, polycarbonate high-density lens, this one is seriously protective — it’s certified for industrial use to protect against things like flying debris and chemical splashes.—Elizabeth Wallace, CNN Underscored, 9 July 2020 Use ceramic cooktop cleaner with a non-scratch cleaning pad to maintain the cooktop.—Cassidy Olsen, Good Housekeeping, 20 Jan. 2023 Stock up on specialty tools, like a plastic scraper, scrub brushes and non-scratch scouring pads.—Maya Pottiger, Washington Post, 27 Dec. 2022 Made of oxford cloth, this waterproof, anti-scratch, breathable cat carrier is both versatile and durable.—Ysolt Usigan, Woman's Day, 29 Sep. 2022 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'scratch.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English scracchen, probably blend of scratten to scratch and cracchen to scratch