scuf·​fle | \ ˈskə-fəl How to pronounce scuffle (audio) \
scuffled; scuffling\ ˈskə-​f(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce scuffling (audio) \

Definition of scuffle

intransitive verb

1a : to struggle at close quarters with disorder and confusion
b : to struggle (as by working odd jobs) to get by
2a : to move with a quick shuffling gait : scurry
b : shuffle

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Other Words from scuffle

scuffle noun

Examples of scuffle in a Sentence

Children scuffled on the playground. Small creatures scuffled in the underbrush.

Recent Examples on the Web

Jordan Clarkson throws ball at Dario Saric, setting off Cavaliers-76ers scuffle | ESPN Saric, who is in his second season out of Croatia, likely didn't know the unwritten rule. Joe Vardon,, "Jordan Clarkson threw ball at Dario Saric for breaking unwritten NBA rule: Inside Cavaliers-76ers," 1 Mar. 2018 Several protesters scuffled with police and officers made four arrests, police said. Caron Creighton, Fox News, "Thousands march in Jerusalem Gay Pride amid surrogacy uproar," 2 Aug. 2018 But as of the start of Tuesday evening, the Padres have undoubtedly begun the season scuffling hard on the field and in the training room. Kevin Acee,, "Wil Myers, Austin Hedges remain sidelined for Padres," 3 Apr. 2018 But there was some scuffling between police and a small group of protesters who tried to get nearer to the parliament exits to jeer and taunt politicians and guests leaving the building. Washington Post, "Hungary president recommends Viktor Orban as prime minister," 10 May 2018 At least 21 people were arrested after commuters chanted anti-government slogans, jumped over electronic ticket gates to avoid paying and scuffled with police to avoid arrest. Washington Post, "Egypt editor suggests more presidential terms for el-Sissi," 14 May 2018 Earlier in the weekend, riot police used tear gas and rubber bullets to separate supporters and opponents who began to scuffle. Washington Post, "Brazil’s Lula rallies support, draws protest as prison looms," 25 Mar. 2018 Brewers catchers were 14th in the majors with a .676 OPS, an indication that many teams were scuffling at the position. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Haudricourt: Numbers tell the story of the Brewers' offensive ups and downs," 22 June 2018 Adding to the pressure, the trade tensions are rising when many farmers are already scuffling. Ronald Brownstein, CNN, "Trade war threatens the GOP's firewall in 2018," 10 Apr. 2018

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

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for scuffle

perhaps frequentative of scuff

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Dictionary Entries near scuffle





scuffle hoe



Statistics for scuffle

Last Updated

8 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scuffle

The first known use of scuffle was in 1590

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More Definitions for scuffle



English Language Learners Definition of scuffle

: to fight briefly and usually not very seriously
: to move quickly and with short steps


scuf·​fle | \ ˈskə-fəl How to pronounce scuffle (audio) \
scuffled; scuffling

Kids Definition of scuffle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to fight briefly and not very seriously



Kids Definition of scuffle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a short fight that is not very serious
2 : the sound of shuffling

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More from Merriam-Webster on scuffle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scuffle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scuffle

Spanish Central: Translation of scuffle

Nglish: Translation of scuffle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scuffle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on scuffle

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using a distributed computer network

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