View synonyms for chicken scratch

chicken scratch

or chick·en-scratch

[ chik-uhn skrach ]


  1. handwriting of words or symbols that is too messy or roughly drawn to be easily read:

    They need precise specs for the remodeling, but these drawings and dimensions are just chicken scratch.

    Milo left us a note, but can anyone figure out his chicken scratch?

  2. a scratchlike mark, often an element of illegible writing:

    I had no idea these chicken-scratches were actually the artist’s signature.

    That chicken scratch was accidentally made by a utility knife when she was scoring a piece of leather.

  3. supplemental, relatively inexpensive food for chickens, typically cracked corn and grains scattered on the ground for the chickens to scratch through as they eat it.
  4. Informal. something of minimal or deficient value, such as an amount of money that is far less than what would be considered reasonable:

    It’s an exposé of those laboring under atrocious conditions for chicken scratch.

verb (used with object)

  1. to handwrite (something) in a manner that is too messy to be easily read:

    I start out being neat with my note-taking, but then I lapse into chicken-scratching everything the teacher says.

verb (used without object)

  1. to produce handwriting that is too messy to be easily read:

    She chicken-scratches like that on purpose so nobody can read it.

    Sometimes you wanna do calligraphy, sometimes you wanna chicken scratch.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of chicken scratch1

First recorded in 1860–65

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Example Sentences

I use chicken scratch feed bags mostly as these are a nice size, and ties a string near the top of the bag.





chickens come home to roostchickenshit