\ ˈskra-chē \
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 \ adverb
scratchiness \ ˈskra-​chē-​nəs \ 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

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 The poet eagerly volunteers to recite some of its lines, his scratchy baritone dramatically quiet at times and booming at others. John Mcmurtrie, San Francisco Chronicle, "Ferlinghetti speaks out at 99, his voice as vital as ever," 21 Mar. 2018 More severely allergic people can develop a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, a scratchy throat, and in very rare cases, go into anaphylactic shock. Hannah Orenstein, Seventeen, "What's the Best Form of Birth Control for You?," 31 Oct. 2017 In the case of cochlear implants, patients initially experience the human voice as high-pitched and scratchy (think Mickey Mouse) but adapt over time. Justin Chen, STAT, "Pulses of light restored hearing in gerbils. Could that lead to higher-tech cochlear implants?," 11 July 2018 Each tree gets a guard, such as plastic spirals or scratchy wire called hardware cloth, on the base to protect it from mice or pests. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In Wisconsin, when life hands you apples, you make elegant ciders. And brandy," 27 June 2018 The best way to fix scratchy eyeballs is to figure out what’s causing them to be so damn irritated in the first place. Korin Miller, SELF, "7 Things That Can Cause Irritated, Scratchy Eyes," 29 June 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

12 Jan 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

: rough and irritating to the skin : likely to make you itch

: swollen and sore


\ ˈskra-chē \
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

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involving abstract or general statements

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