- to mark, break, or cut the surface of slightly with something pointed or sharp
- to tear or dig with the nails or claws
- to rub or scrape lightly, as with the fingernails, to relieve itching, etc.
- to chafe
- to rub or scrape with a grating noise: to scratch a match on a wall
- to write or draw hurriedly or carelessly
- to strike out or cancel (writing, etc.)
- to gather or collect with difficulty; scrape (together or up)
- Sports to withdraw (an entry) from a contest, specif. from a horse race
Origin of scratchLate Middle English scracchen, probably altered from scratten, to scratch, based on cracchen from or akin to Middle Dutch cratsen, to scratch from Indo-European base an unverified form gred- from source Albanian gërüj, (I) scratch
- to use nails or claws in digging or wounding
- to rub or scrape the skin lightly, as with the fingernails, to relieve itching, etc.
- to manage to get by; scrape by
- to make a harsh, scraping noise
- to withdraw from a race or contest
- in certain card games, to score no points
- to make a scratch
- the act of scratching
- a mark or tear made in a surface by something sharp or rough
- a wound, usually superficial, inflicted by nails, claws, or something pointed pulled across the skin, etc.
- a slight grating or scraping sound
- a hasty mark, as of a pen; scribble
- the starting line of a race
- in certain card games, a score of zero
- Slang money
- a shot that results in a penalty; specif., in pool, a shot in which the cue ball goes into a pocket
- the starting point or time of a contestant who receives no handicap
- such a contestant
- an entry withdrawn from a contest
- used for hasty notes, preliminary or tentative figuring, etc.: scratch paper
- skillful enough to require no handicap or special allowance in a contest: a scratch golfer
- put together in haste and without much selection: a scratch team
- Baseball designating a chance hit credited to a batter for a ball not hit sharply, but on which the batter reaches base safely
- from the start; from the very beginning
- from nothing; without resources, advantage, etc.
- without the use of components or ingredients commercially prepared, assembled, or mixed beforehand: a pie baked from scratch, a shed built from scratch
scratch one's head
Origin of scratchfrom the common mannerism, as when pondering a question
scratch the surface
up to scratch
- toeing the mark; ready to start a race, contest, etc.
- Informal ready to meet difficulties, start on an enterprise, etc.
- Informal up to standard; acceptable; good