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6 : a contestant whose name is withdrawn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 The series struck at exactly the right time, and will surely birth countless imitators attempting to scratch the same tabloid itch. Brian Lowry, CNN, "TV 2020: 15 programs that belong in a time capsule for this very strange year," 23 Dec. 2020 To emulate Motzny’s year-round giving, people shouldn’t wait until the last month of the year to scratch that philanthropic itch. Steven Lindsey, Dallas News, "The Freebie Guy uses his superpowers to purchase toys at deep discounts, donates them to Jonathan’s Place," 9 Dec. 2020 This is a good way to scratch the itch on your green thumb until spring can come again. Adrienne So, Wired, "The Best Black Friday Home, Kitchen, and Parenting Deals," 28 Nov. 2020 Macfarlane trained for her first mixed martial arts fight as a bucket-list item to scratch off in 2015. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: La Mesa MMA champ Ilima-Lei Macfarlane navigates year like no other," 5 Dec. 2020 Needless to say, there’s a huge vacation rental market to be tapped into, and the Hampton University graduates are just beginning to scratch the surface. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "Meet Two HBCU Grads Taking Over The Vacation Rental Market," 30 Nov. 2020 No matter how petite or gigantic your dog is, their nails can scratch flooring. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, "How to Clean Hardwood Floors and Have Them Looking Like New," 19 Nov. 2020 Tulane has an excellent opportunity to scratch its 36-year itch on Saturday. G Smith, NOLA.com, "Streak-buster? Tulane is a rare favorite against a ranked team," 10 Nov. 2020 Clemson was forced to scratch and claw out from a significant hole to beat Boston College 34-28. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "No. 1 Clemson survives Boston College's upset bid behind freshman QB D.J. Uiagalelei," 31 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The 30-dish menu at Kin Dee Thai Cuisine in The Heights, which premiered in May, showcases made-from-scratch recipes inspired by the four food regions of Thailand. Marcy De Luna, Chron, "The 10 best dishes at Houston's newest restaurants," 7 Jan. 2021 And so understanding what can go wrong (or even how to construct a viable protein from scratch) is an important goal with a multitude of scientific and medical implications. Clifton Leaf, Fortune, "20 Things That Went Strangely, Wonderfully Right in 2020," 31 Dec. 2020 Such companies tend to resist the urge to rebuild their internal Flash programs from scratch, De Rossi said. NBC News, "Goodbye, Flash: The web application everybody used — and hated," 31 Dec. 2020 Stewart remembers making hearty stews from scratch, too, although he wouldn’t be allowed to improvise like that these days and keep the contract. Jeff Winkler, The Atlantic, "The Art of Cooking While Everything Burns," 30 Dec. 2020 Or use our pancake recipes for from-a-mix inspiration and from-scratch ideas. Kristy Alpert, Better Homes & Gardens, "8 Tips for Better Boxed Pancakes," 30 Dec. 2020 This documentary series chronicles the efforts by entrepreneur Glenn Stearns to build a million-dollar company from scratch in 90 days. Los Angeles Times, "What’s on TV Wednesday: ‘Heroes on the Front Line’ on The CW," 29 Dec. 2020 Those looking to take whole grains to the next level can try making oatmeal from scratch. Jason Bittel, Family, "Help your children de-stress with the right foods," 15 Dec. 2020 Now Some observers point out that MuZero, AlphaGo, and AlphaZero don’t really start from scratch. Will Knight, Wired, "What AlphaGo Can Teach Us About How People Learn," 23 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This pick has anti-scratch defense for vivid clarity and features antimicrobial agents to help keep your phone screen as clean as possible. Ellen Mcalpine, CNN Underscored, "Protect your iPhone 12 with these stylish and rugged cases," 16 Oct. 2020 Your phone is protected against drops up to 10 feet and gets added anti-scratch protection. Ellen Mcalpine, CNN Underscored, "These are our favorite accessories for Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra," 11 Sep. 2020 Your phone is protected against drops up to 10 feet and gets added anti-scratch protection. Ellen Mcalpine, CNN Underscored, "These are our favorite accessories for Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra," 11 Sep. 2020 Your phone is protected against drops up to 10 feet and gets added anti-scratch protection. Ellen Mcalpine, CNN Underscored, "These are our favorite accessories for Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra," 11 Sep. 2020 Your phone is protected against drops up to 10 feet and gets added anti-scratch protection. Ellen Mcalpine, CNN Underscored, "These are our favorite accessories for Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra," 11 Sep. 2020 Your phone is protected against drops up to 10 feet and gets added anti-scratch protection. Ellen Mcalpine, CNN Underscored, "These are our favorite accessories for Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra," 11 Sep. 2020 For exterior spills, rely on a non-scratch scrubber over harsh options like steel wool, which can leave permanent marks. Elizabeth Sheldon, Good Housekeeping, "Wash the Right Way to Keep Pots and Pans Looking Brand-New," 1 Sep. 2020 Your phone is protected against drops up to 10 feet and gets added anti-scratch protection. Ellen Mcalpine, CNN Underscored, "These are our favorite accessories for Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra," 11 Sep. 2020

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 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scratch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scratch. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on scratch

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