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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Lawmakers arguing about the bill scuffled in the legislature; one was carried out on a stretcher. Daniel Victor, New York Times, "The Murder Case That Lit the Fuse in Hong Kong," 15 June 2019 At issue: After a strong start to his big-league career, call-up Sam Hilliard is scuffling a bit. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Nolan Arenado’s “tarp play” still No. 1, but Thursday’s web gem wowed us," 13 Sep. 2019 Minnesota has scuffled in interleague play with a 7-10 record and outscored by 13 runs. Skip Snow, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Washington Nationals at Minnesota Twins odds, picks and betting tips," 10 Sep. 2019 On Friday, Likud and Democratic Union supporters scuffled during rival parades through Jerusalem’s main market. Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, "Netanyahu advises supporters that voting more important than sex," 16 Sep. 2019 But until its return, more than 30,000 visitors a day are now forced to scuffle up three escalators and through a single doorway to access the new location. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, "Mona Lisa's New Location Leads to Hours-Long Waits at the Louvre," 15 Aug. 2019 For the second consecutive spring, the hard-throwing Milwaukee Brewers reliever is scuffling during exhibition play. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers reliever Jacob Barnes struggling with command for second consecutive spring camp," 17 Mar. 2018 Though their 13-1 record suggests a cakewalk, Oakland scuffled through the first part of the season, even suffering a 31-point loss at New England. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL's 100 greatest teams of all time: Which squad is best in league history?," 5 Aug. 2019 Or the flawed team that returned home scuffling, having lost six of their last 10 and dropping back to .500? Ann Killion,, "Giants’ fate may be determined during this homestand," 5 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of scuffle

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for scuffle

perhaps frequentative of scuff

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about scuffle

Dictionary Entries near scuffle





scuffle hoe



Statistics for scuffle

Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scuffle

The first known use of scuffle was in 1590

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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


to fake an opponent out of position

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!