scribble

1 of 2

verb

scrib·​ble ˈskri-bəl How to pronounce scribble (audio)
scribbled; scribbling ˈskri-b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce scribble (audio) ; scribbles

transitive + intransitive

1
: to write or draw hastily or carelessly
a note scribbled on the back of an envelope
Harriet scribbled in her notebook as soon as she took her seat.Louise Fitzhugh
He took a stump of lead pencil out of his pocket and scribbled a moustache on the lion's upper lip and then a pair of spectacles on its eyes.C. S. Lewis
2
: to fill or cover something with careless or worthless writings or drawings
a scribbled envelope
… papers … scribbled over with clues …English Digest

scribble

2 of 2

noun

plural scribbles
: a piece of writing or a drawing that is done quickly or carelessly
She could barely make out the doctor's scribble.
a page covered with random scribbles
… he pulled a thick wad of envelopes from the inside of the pillowcase he was wearing. Harry could make out Hermione's neat writing, Ron's untidy scrawl, and even a scribble that looked as though it was from the Hogwarts gamekeeper, Hagrid.J. K. Rowling

Examples of scribble in a Sentence

Verb She scribbled a note to him and then dashed off to her meeting. He scribbled down his phone number. Students scribbled furiously as the professor lectured. She was scribbling away in a notebook. The toddler scribbled all over the paper.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
The tactile feeling and lack of glare are similar to scribbling on paper, except this pad digitally saves your work to folders. EW.com, 20 Dec. 2023 The ballots were subsequently hand-counted and read out loud before being scribbled on a white board as journalists from all over the country began reporting the results live on air. Kelsey Walsh, ABC News, 23 Jan. 2024 Her intimate portraits feature expressive lines and scribbled text with fragments of testimony, legal arguments and her own observations. Katrina Kaufman, CBS News, 20 Jan. 2024 The priciest item: pink notecards scribbled with the eulogy that Roman (Kieran Culkin) left undelivered at his father’s funeral in the final season. Irina Anghel, Fortune, 14 Jan. 2024 Garcia said after stepping out of a trailer near his farm that he’s converted into an anti-landfill war room plastered with maps and whiteboards scribbled with talking points. Tom Hays, Washington Post, 11 Jan. 2024 Amoruso, a language-arts teacher, scribbled reminders on a touch screen: poise, voice, life, eye contact, gestures, speed. Clarence Williams, Washington Post, 18 Jan. 2024 Joan is in her chair at her apartment north of Union Square scribbling her final thoughts at the bottom of an e-mail. Neima Jahromi, The New Yorker, 12 Jan. 2024 The menu is a list of salads, cured meats and cheeses for antipasti, sandwiches served on focaccia and pasta dishes scribbled on a whiteboard. The Arizona Republic, 3 Jan. 2024
Noun
But what happened at Oceanwide Plaza wasn’t some spur of the moment scribble. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 3 Feb. 2024 Others say that the text is an artificial language or strange shorthand, and others still see the text as meaningless scribbles. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 31 Jan. 2024 The house looks lived in with furniture from different eras and childhood scribbles hidden in closet walls. Gieson Cacho, The Mercury News, 19 Jan. 2024 Believe it or not, but this is an improvement from the generic scribble in earlier versions of SD. Benj Edwards, Ars Technica, 27 July 2023 The studio around her was cluttered with gear—vintage pianos, pedalboards with incoherent scribbles on strips of masking tape—belonging to the Decemberists, who had been there for months, working on a forthcoming album. Hanif Abdurraqib, The New Yorker, 5 Jan. 2024 Many of the pages of the young mother's journals had her children's scribbles on them, as seen at left. Iris Carreras, CBS News, 15 Dec. 2023 Each thermostat had a piece of paper sticky-taped to it, with a helpful scribble from the previous homeowner explaining how to operate the gadget. Chris Baraniuk, WIRED, 29 Nov. 2023 Back to 1987, a frustrated Davis scribbles and scribbles and scribbles in his sketchbook. Lily Moayeri, SPIN, 7 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'scribble.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English scriblen, from Medieval Latin scribillare, from Latin scribere to write

First Known Use

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1577, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of scribble was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near scribble

Cite this Entry

“Scribble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scribble. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

scribble

verb
scrib·​ble ˈskrib-əl How to pronounce scribble (audio)
scribbled; scribbling -(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce scribble (audio)
: to write or draw hastily or carelessly
scribble noun
scribbler
ˈskrib-(ə-)lər
noun
Etymology

Verb

Middle English scriblen "to write hurriedly or carelessly," from Latin scribillare (same meaning), from earlier scribere "to write" — related to scribe

More from Merriam-Webster on scribble

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