\ ˈskra-chē How to pronounce scratchy (audio) \
scratchier; scratchiest

Definition of scratchy

1 : marked or made with scratches scratchy drawing scratchy handwriting
2 : likely to scratch : prickly scratchy undergrowth
3 : making a scratching noise
4 : uneven in quality : ragged
5 : causing tingling or itching : irritating scratchy wool
6 : somewhat inflamed and sore a scratchy throat

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Other Words from scratchy

scratchily \ ˈskra-​chə-​lē How to pronounce scratchily (audio) \ adverb
scratchiness \ ˈskra-​chē-​nəs How to pronounce scratchiness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for scratchy


brambly, prickly, thistly, thorny

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Examples of scratchy in a Sentence

listening to scratchy old records The costume is made from scratchy material. He is sick with a scratchy throat.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The fire has not hurt anyone, but the Florida Department of Health warns that smoke could cause a scratchy throat, irritated eyes and nose and make preexisting health problems worse. Linda Trischitta,, "Everglades wildfire briefly closes Alligator Alley as fire spreads to 32,000 acres | VIDEO," 25 June 2019 Opening with a saturated, scratchy chord that fractures into jitters, the score, conducted by Leslie Dunner, is most interesting in brief instrumental interludes. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Central Park Five’ Turns Injustice Into Opera," 16 June 2019 Often what starts the sensation of a scratchy throat or a drippy nose is the arsenal of molecules that the immune system makes to combat an invading pathogen rather than the pathogen itself. Quanta Magazine, "Why Don’t Patients Get Sick in Sync? Modelers Find Statistical Clues," 1 Mar. 2018 This is called a corneal abrasion, and symptoms include a gritty, scratchy feeling, pain, redness, tearing, sensitivity to light, a headache, and feeling like something’s in your eye, according to the Mayo Clinic. Korin Miller, SELF, "8 Possible Reasons Your Contacts Feel So Scratchy," 8 Aug. 2018 And in my experience, American cotton pads can feel scratchy and often fall apart easily. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Korean Cotton Pads Are the Secret to a Proper K-Beauty Skin Routine," 4 Oct. 2018 Our day hike to Gallison Lake took us off trail through scratchy brush and up the side of a waterfall. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Yosemite backpacking with kids is worth a few tears," 26 Apr. 2018 Because of all the rivers and lakes, wide swaths of the Selous are impenetrable — picture green, overgrown, scratchy and thorny bush. Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times, "A Family Adventure in the Wild Heart of Tanzania," 2 Apr. 2018 Whatever the cause, blepharitis can leave you with scratchy eyes, swollen eyelids, flaky eyelid skin, burning, stinging, and feeling like something is stuck your eyes, according to the Mayo Clinic. Korin Miller, SELF, "Here’s Why Your Eyes Are Burning When You Put In Your Contacts," 10 Oct. 2018

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

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for scratchy

Last Updated

29 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for scratchy

The first known use of scratchy was in 1827

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More Definitions for scratchy



English Language Learners Definition of scratchy

: having a rough sound : having a sound like the sound made when something sharp or rough rubs against a surface or object
informal : rough and irritating to the skin : likely to make you itch
: swollen and sore


\ ˈskra-chē How to pronounce scratchy (audio) \
scratchier; scratchiest

Kids Definition of scratchy

1 : likely to injure with something sharp a scratchy rosebush
2 : causing irritation a scratchy wool sweater
3 : coarse sense 1 I shook his scratchy hand.
4 : somewhat sore a scratchy throat

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More from Merriam-Webster on scratchy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scratchy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scratchy

Spanish Central: Translation of scratchy

Nglish: Translation of scratchy for Spanish Speakers

Comments on scratchy

What made you want to look up scratchy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


characterized by aphorism

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