scratch

verb
\ ˈskrach How to pronounce scratch (audio) \
scratched; scratching; scratches

Definition of scratch

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to scrape or dig with the claws or nails
2 : to rub and tear or mark the surface of with something sharp or jagged
3a : to scrape or rub lightly (as to relieve itching)
b : to act on (a desire) used with itchscratch the itch to travel
4 : to scrape together : collect with difficulty or by effort scratch out a living
5 : to write or draw on a surface
6a : to cancel or erase by or as if by drawing a line through
b : to withdraw (an entry) from competition
8 : to scrape along a rough surface scratch a match

intransitive verb

1 : to use the claws or nails in digging, tearing, or wounding
2 : to scrape or rub oneself lightly (as to relieve itching)
3 : to gather money or make a living by hard work and especially through irregular means and sacrifice had to scratch and save for college
4a : to make a thin grating sound
b : to produce a rhythmic scratching sound by or as if by moving a phonograph record back and forth under a phonograph needle
5 : to withdraw from a contest or engagement
6 : to make a scratch in billiards or pool
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

scratch

noun

Definition of scratch (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a mark or injury produced by scratching also : a slight wound
3 : the sound made by scratching
4 : the starting line in a race
5a : a test of courage
b : satisfactory condition, level, or performance not up to scratch
6 : a contestant whose name is withdrawn
7 : poultry feed (such as mixed grains) scattered on the litter or ground especially to induce birds to exercise

called also scratch feed

8a : a shot in billiards or pool that ends a player's turn specifically : a shot in pool in which the cue ball falls into the pocket
b : a shot that scores by chance : fluke
9 slang : money, funds
from scratch
1 : from a point at which nothing has been done ahead of time build a school system from scratch
2 : without using a prepared mixture of ingredients bake a cake from scratch

scratch

adjective

Definition of scratch (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : arranged or put together with little selection : haphazard a scratch team
2 : made as or used for a tentative effort
3 : made or done by chance and not as intended a scratch shot
4 : having no handicap or allowance a scratch golfer
5 : made from scratch : made with basic ingredients a scratch cake

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Other Words from scratch

Verb

scratcher noun

Synonyms for scratch

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Did You Know?

Noun

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.

Examples of scratch in a Sentence

Verb 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Scherzer was supposed to start Game 5 in Washington on Sunday, but was scratched because of spasms in his upper back and neck. Benjamin Hoffman, New York Times, "Nationals Win Their First World Series With One Last Rally," 30 Oct. 2019 Meanwhile, Nationals manager Dave Martinez had no immediate updates Monday on the status of righthander Max Scherzer, who was scratched from his start Sunday because of nerve impingement that led to neck spasms. David Barron, Houston Chronicle, "Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki says he's improving," 28 Oct. 2019 But he was scratched just 3½ hours before game time because of an irritated nerve near his neck, an injury that could finish him for the Series. Ben Walker, chicagotribune.com, "Gerrit Cole pitches the Astros to a 3-2 lead in the World Series with a 7-1 win over the Nationals," 27 Oct. 2019 Omaha Beach to the BC Mile Omaha Beach, the Kentucky Derby favorite until he was scratched, will be running in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, "Racing! Jerry Hollendorfer loses in L.A. court," 18 Oct. 2019 Ten vehicles were scratched and tires were also slashed. Washington Post, "Alexandria and Arlington crime watch," 16 Oct. 2019 The news came two days after Karlsson was scratched from the Sharks’ lineup, citing personal reasons, NBC Sports reported. Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "NHL Star Erik Karlsson and Wife Melinda Welcome Daughter After Losing Stillborn Son Last Year," 4 Oct. 2019 But that didn’t even scratch the surface, at least how Pollack described it. BostonGlobe.com, "Except that may not be true.," 13 Sep. 2019 So as not to scratch that paint, it will also be offered with a removable protective plastic film. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, "Land Rover unveils all new version of its iconic Defender," 10 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bloomberg built his company from scratch to supply Wall Street firms with market data in the 1980s. NBC News, "If Bloomberg runs for president, a management committee will run his company," 8 Nov. 2019 In addition to from-scratch dumplings, the kitchen will serve glass noodles, beef noodle soup, braised pork belly, a selection of Taiwanese cold dishes and the likes. Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, "Dumpling Haus pop-up to get brick-and-mortar location at Sawyer Yards," 5 Nov. 2019 Not easy As the case of Cyberjaya and other failed new city projects globally demonstrate, successfully designing new cities from scratch is not easy. Astrid R.n. Haas, Quartz Africa, "African countries keep building new cities to meet rapid urbanization even if people won’t live in them," 1 Nov. 2019 So the company ended up building its U.S. headquarters in that style from scratch. Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post, "Bringing a RiNo vibe to Broomfield’s Interlocken," 30 Oct. 2019 Liverpool are simply returning to their stage rather than starting from scratch. SI.com, "Liverpool & Tottenham Are Heading in Completely Different Directions After Years as Rivals," 29 Oct. 2019 Building a complete tool kit from scratch is expensive. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, "Save Hundreds on DeWalt Tools at Amazon Today Only," 17 Oct. 2019 Water, drainage, electricity, everything has to be built from scratch. Nikhil S Dixit, Quartz India, "Mumbai’s ecologically important salt pans may soon be opened up for real estate," 15 Oct. 2019 Since they are designed from scratch, manufacturers can keep tweaking the recipes to make each bite yummier or more nutritious. The Economist, "Plant-based meat could create a radically different food chain," 12 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The sessions are aimed at ages 3-10, but what adult doesn’t love scratch art? (610-388-8382, brandywine.org) Shore Baby Parades (Stone Harbor, July 9; Wildwood, Aug. 1; Cape May, Aug. 3; Ocean City, Aug. 9). Lauren Mccutcheon, Philly.com, "Where to take your kids in Philadelphia this summer," 6 June 2018 In spring 2016, Kornmeyer ran the Scratch pop-up restaurant in Irvington in hopes of finding a permanent location. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "These are all the Indianapolis restaurant closings," 13 July 2017 The TechMatte screen protectors were extremely scratch-resilient compared to others, including protectors that cost more than $40. Brian X. Chen, New York Times, "Reality Check: What Does, and Doesn’t, Protect Your Smartphone," 24 May 2017 Guinness isn't owned by megabrewer AB InBev, but it is run by multi-national beverage company Diageo (also the world's largest whiskey producer), so scratch independence. Matt Allyn, Popular Mechanics, "Guinness Is Opening an American Brewery and This Is Why it Matters," 31 Jan. 2017 The TechMatte screen protectors were extremely scratch-resilient compared to others, including protectors that cost more than $40. Brian X. Chen, The Seattle Times, "What does, and doesn’t, protect your smartphone," 2 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scratch.' 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 scratch

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

circa 1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1851, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for scratch

Verb

Middle English scracchen, probably blend of scratten to scratch and cracchen to scratch

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Time Traveler for scratch

Time Traveler

The first known use of scratch was in the 15th century

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Statistics for scratch

Last Updated

12 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Scratch.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scratched. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for scratch

scratch

verb
How to pronounce scratch (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of scratch

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to rub your skin with something sharp (such as your fingernails) especially in order to stop an itch
: to make a shallow and narrow cut in (your skin) with something sharp (such as fingernails, claws, etc.)
: to rub a surface or object with something sharp or rough in a way that produces a harsh sound

scratch

noun

English Language Learners Definition of scratch (Entry 2 of 3)

: a line or mark in the surface of something that is caused by something rough or sharp rubbing against it
: a shallow and narrow cut in the skin that is caused by something sharp
: the sound made when something sharp rubs against a surface or object

scratch

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of scratch (Entry 3 of 3)

of a golfer : having no handicap
chiefly British : put together quickly and without enough planning or thought

scratch

verb
\ ˈskrach How to pronounce scratch (audio) \
scratched; scratching

Kids Definition of scratch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to scrape or rub lightly scratch an itch He scratched his head.
2 : to injure by scraping with something sharp He scratched his thumb on a nail.
3 : to make a scraping noise The dog was scratching at the door.
4 : to erase by scraping I scratched out my mistake.

scratch

noun

Kids Definition of scratch (Entry 2 of 2)

: a mark or injury made by scraping with something sharp

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More from Merriam-Webster on scratch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scratch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scratch

Spanish Central: Translation of scratch

Nglish: Translation of scratch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scratch for Arabic Speakers

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