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 itch scratch 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6 : a contestant whose name is withdrawn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

abrade, graze, scrape, scuff

Synonyms: Noun

creak, grind, jar, rasp, scrape

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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

Los Angeles Dodgers at Baltimore Orioles: Key Injuries Dodgers 3B Justin Turner (ankle) was scratched Tuesday after sitting Sunday. Esten Mclaren, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Los Angeles Dodgers at Baltimore Orioles odds, picks and betting tips," 11 Sep. 2019 The game quickly evolved into a pitching duel between the starters, Brewers lefty Gio Gonzalez and Chicago’s Yu Darvish, who was scratched from his previous start with forearm tightness. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 3, Cubs 2: Christian Yelich gives Brewers a victory they had to have with walk-off double," 7 Sep. 2019 The passenger’s side of the vehicle is scratched and the right front hubcap is broken, according to police. Joe Nelson, The Mercury News, "California man stabbed to death was raising suspect’s daughter, police say," 4 Sep. 2019 This particular crew does not work Alabama games as its chief, Carter, is scratched from officiating the Tide. Ross Dellenger, SI.com, "Behind the Scenes as SEC Refs Get a Unique Primer at Georgia Camp," 22 Aug. 2019 For the second time in as many weeks, Gray was scratched from a start against the Diamondbacks due to a left foot injury. Nick Piecoro, azcentral, "Arizona Diamondbacks turn in another ‘clunker’ in loss to Rockies," 21 Aug. 2019 Other players who practiced Saturday but were scratched: Safety Kareem Jackson and cornerback Bryce Callahan, replaced by Trey Marshall and Isaac Yiadom, respectively. Ryan O'halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos Briefs: Rookie TE Noah Fant sustains foot injury," 19 Aug. 2019 Their 5-year-old gelding Flagstaff ($3.60), ridden by Victor Espinoza, won the fourth race, a $67,000 allowance claimer that was scratched down to four horses. San Diego Union-Tribune, "D’Amato scores weekend turf double, wins Del Mar Mile with Prince Earl," 18 Aug. 2019 Riley McCusker, 18, a bronze medalist last year, scratched from the competition because of an illness. Danielle Allentuck, New York Times, "Simone Biles Set a New Standard. Can U.S.A. Gymnastics Do the Same?," 12 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Starting a new museum from scratch takes passion, vision, good sense, and lots of money, and now she’s building a foundation to help other museums. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Art Bridges’ Art Populism," 14 Sep. 2019 Yesterdays Restaurant & Tavern: Located at 2030 Devine Street, this local favorite has made-from-scratch Southern home cooking and fresh local vegetables at reasonable prices since 1978. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, "Alabama football fans: Things to do in Columbia if you’re catching the South Carolina game," 13 Sep. 2019 To prepare for the Nov. 1 debut, the company created an entertainment arm from scratch, installing the Hollywood veterans Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg as top executives. BostonGlobe.com, "In the streaming industry, $5 is a figure that grabs attention.," 13 Sep. 2019 Cavoulacos is upfront about the challenges of building a company from scratch. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "The Muse founders make finding a job less harrowing," 11 Sep. 2019 Deliberations started from scratch with alternates. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "Ghost Ship trial: Inside the turbulent jury deliberations that led to dismissals, acquittal, deadlock," 11 Sep. 2019 The Brady Bunch house was taken down to the studs (literally!) and then Good Bones’ Mina Starsiak and Karen Laine started building the addition with a new foundation and frame before the Property Brothers started creating the interior from scratch. Selena Barrientos, House Beautiful, "A Very Brady Renovation," 10 Sep. 2019 Allure sat down with the legendary perfumer to talk about his inspiration, working with Armani, the process of creating a new fragrance from scratch, and more. Kristen Bateman, Allure, "Armani Privé’s New Orangerie Venise Is the Haute Couture Gown of the Fragrance World," 9 Sep. 2019 The judge then ordered the jury to begin deliberating from scratch. Tim Arango, New York Times, "Ghost Ship Trial: Jury Acquits Defendant but Can’t Reach Verdict on Another," 5 Sep. 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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Statistics for scratch

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scratch

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

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More Definitions for scratch

scratch

verb

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scratch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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