Dictionary.com

itch

[ ich ]
/ ɪtʃ /
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See synonyms for: itch / itching on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
noun
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Origin of itch

First recorded before 900; Middle English verb (y)icchen, Old English gicc(e)an; akin to German jucken, Dutch jeuken; noun derivative of the verb

OTHER WORDS FROM itch

anti-itch, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

ITCH VS. SCRATCH

What’s the difference between itch and scratch?

An itch is a feeling of irritation on the skin, often one that makes you want to scratch it (scrape it or rub it). The word itch can also be used as a verb meaning to have this sensation (as in My leg itches) or to cause to itch (as in The tag on my shirt keeps itching me).

Itch also has some more figurative meanings as both a noun and a verb.

The reason you looked this up, though, is because itch is sometimes informally used to mean the same thing as scratch, as in Try not to itch your mosquito bites—it will only make them itchier! Language purists are often itching to clarify that you scratch an itch, but this verb use of itch is quite common.

As a noun, the word scratch means something different—a cut or scrape, typically a minor one caused by something having scratched the skin, as in I got a few scratches from the thornbush. 

Here’s an example of itch and scratch used correctly in the same sentence.

Example: I know your rash itches, but don’t scratch your itch so hard—you’ll leave a scratch on your arm!

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between itch and scratch

Quiz yourself on itch vs. scratch!

Should itch or scratch be used in the following sentence?

This new lotion makes me _____—I hope I’m not allergic to it.

How to use itch in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for itch

itch
/ (ɪtʃ) /

noun
verb

Derived forms of itch

itchy, adjectiveitchiness, noun

Word Origin for itch

Old English gīccean to itch, of Germanic origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for itch

itch
[ ĭch ]

n.
An irritating skin sensation causing a desire to scratch.
Any of various skin disorders, such as scabies, marked by intense irritation and itching.
v.
To feel, have, or produce an itch.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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