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

Definition of scribble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive + intransitive verb

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


plural scribbles

Definition of scribble (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

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Synonyms for scribble

Synonyms: Verb

scratch, scrawl, squiggle

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Examples of scribble in a Sentence


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But Trump’s scribbling enablers aside, Democratic voters don’t seem to mind. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "How Old is Too Old to Be President?," 2 July 2019 Montgomery spends days scribbling in a notebook, trying to write a play. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The Last Black Man in San Francisco is so good, it’s hard to believe it’s a debut feature," 5 June 2019 Other figures scribble graffiti, or torture a dog with a cudgel. A.v. | New York, The Economist, "Why William Hogarth’s polemics were so successful," 25 June 2019 Some clacked away on the keyboards of their laptops, other scribbled notes on legal pads as many of the world’s top basketball prospects ran up and down the court in front of them. Malika Andrews,, "NBA teams value draft combine interactions even though some top players are no-shows," 18 May 2018 The contingent included Haslam, who was seen scribbling notes during Darnold's workout at USC. Bud Shaw,, "Ryan Leaf and the Browns is a case of dueling reputations -- Bud Shaw's Spinoffs," 30 Sep. 2017 Before the final bell rang Monday afternoon, Lafayette Elementary students left a lasting gift with messages of love scribbled through its hallways. Meredith Colias-pete, Post-Tribune, "'I love this school. I wish it didn't close.' Hammond students leave hall messages as parting gifts," 4 June 2019 His room was so tiny that the only available place to sit and scribble my notes was with me wedged on one side of the bed, and him on the other. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "That’s So ’90s: Vogue Editors Share Their Favorite Fashion Memories From This Year’s Most Trending Decade," 22 Dec. 2018 Wilson cries out to an aide, who scribbles into a notebook. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Disrupting the Pentagon: Can the Air Force Learn To Love Startup Culture?," 12 Apr. 2019

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1577, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for scribble


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

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Statistics for scribble

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scribble

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

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More Definitions for scribble



English Language Learners Definition of scribble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to write (something) quickly and in a way that makes it difficult to read
: to draw lines, shapes, etc., that have no particular meaning in a quick and careless way



English Language Learners Definition of scribble (Entry 2 of 2)

: writing that is difficult to read because it has been done quickly or carelessly
: lines, shapes, etc., that have no particular meaning and are drawn in a quick and careless way


scrib·​ble | \ ˈskri-bəl How to pronounce scribble (audio) \
scribbled; scribbling

Kids Definition of scribble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to write quickly or carelessly

Other Words from scribble

scribbler \ ˈskri-​blər \ noun



Kids Definition of scribble (Entry 2 of 2)

: something written quickly or carelessly

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More from Merriam-Webster on scribble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scribble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scribble

Spanish Central: Translation of scribble

Nglish: Translation of scribble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scribble for Arabic Speakers

Comments on scribble

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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