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

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 While the leaders scuffled, others on course made runs, though no one was able to close the gap on the three shots that separated the top two after Saturday. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "Jim Herman wins Barbasol Championship by one stroke on weather-delayed Sunday," 22 July 2019 In this Sunday, July 14, 2019, photo, policemen scuffle with protesters inside a shopping mall in Sha Tin District in Hong Kong. Washington Post, "Hong Kong leader thanks police after clashes with ‘rioters’," 17 July 2019 During the Wednesday night practice at Halas Hall, Long scuffled with rookie defensive lineman Jalen Dalton near the line of scrimmage. Colleen Kane,, "Kyle Long felt ‘immediate regret’ after his outburst during Bears practice: ‘I cost myself a lot of personal equity’," 20 Aug. 2019 The brawl occurred during a special teams period in which Browns linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong first scuffled with cornerback Quincy Wilson and exchanged punches with Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin. Mary Kay Cabot,, "Odell Beckham says Freddie Kitchens’ message was received: ‘We came here to impose our will’," 15 Aug. 2019 Parents who scuffle with referees at children’s sport events face new penalties. USA TODAY, "Milestone rhino, Bigfoot shooting, jailed for feeding cats: News from around our 50 states," 1 Aug. 2019 If a random fan and a former player could be permanently banned for heckling and scuffling, there is logical argument that an owner who shoves a player should get at least the same sanction. Michael Mccann,, "Could Warriors Strip Mark Stevens of His Minority Stake After Kyle Lowry Shove?," 6 June 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

11 Sep 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).


concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!