[ skawr, skohr ]
See synonyms for: scorescoredscoresscoring on

noun,plural scores, score for 11.
  1. the record of points or strokes made by the competitors in a game or match.

  2. the total points or strokes made by one side, individual, play, game, etc.

  1. an act or instance of making or earning a point or points.

  2. Education, Psychology. the performance of an individual or sometimes of a group on an examination or test, expressed by a number, letter, or other symbol.

  3. a notch, scratch, or incision; a stroke or line.

  4. a notch or mark for keeping an account or record.

  5. a reckoning or account so kept; tally.

  6. any account showing indebtedness.

  7. an amount recorded as due.

  8. a line drawn as a boundary, the starting point of a race, a goal line, etc.

  9. a group or set of 20: about a score of years ago.

  10. scores, a great many: Scores of people were at the dance.

  11. a reason, ground, or cause: to complain on the score of low pay.

  12. Informal.

    • the basic facts, point of progress, etc., regarding a situation: What's the score on Saturday's picnic?

    • a successful move, remark, etc.

  13. Music.

    • a written or printed piece of music with all the vocal and instrumental parts arranged on staves, one under the other.

    • the music itself.

    • the music played as background to or part of a movie, play, or television presentation.

  14. Slang.

    • a success in finding a willing sexual partner; sexual conquest.

    • a purchase or acquisition of illicit drugs, as heroin or cocaine.

    • a single payoff obtained through graft by a police officer, especially from a narcotics violator.

    • a successful robbery; theft.

    • any success, triumph, happy acquisition, gift, or win.

    • the victim of a robbery or swindle.

verb (used with object),scored, scor·ing.
  1. to gain for addition to one's score in a game or match.

  2. to make a score of: He scored 98 on the test.

  1. to have as a specified value in points: Four aces score 100.

  2. Education, Psychology. to evaluate the responses a person has made on (a test or an examination).

  3. Music.

    • to orchestrate.

    • to write out in score.

    • to compose the music for (a movie, play, television show, etc.)

  4. Cooking. to cut ridges or lines into (meat, fish, etc.) with shallow slashes, usually in a diamond pattern, before cooking.

  5. to make notches, cuts, marks, or lines in or on.

  6. to record or keep a record of (points, items, etc.), by or as if by notches, marks, etc.; tally; reckon (often followed by up).

  7. to write down as a debt.

  8. to record as a debtor.

  9. to gain, achieve, or win: The play scored a great success.

  10. Slang.

    • to obtain (a drug) illicitly.

    • to steal.

    • to acquire; be given.

  11. to berate or censure: The newspapers scored the mayor severely for the announcement.

  12. to crease (paper or cardboard) so that it can be folded easily and without damage.

verb (used without object),scored, scor·ing.
  1. to make a point or points in a game or contest.

  2. to keep score, as of a game.

  1. to achieve an advantage or a success: The new product scored with the public.

  2. to make notches, cuts, lines, etc.

  3. to run up a score or debt.

  4. Slang.

    • to succeed in finding a willing sexual partner; have sexual intercourse.

    • to purchase or obtain drugs illicitly.

    • to elicit and accept a bribe.

Idioms about score

  1. pay off / settle a score, to avenge a wrong; retaliate: In the Old West they paid off a score with bullets.

Origin of score

First recorded before 1100; Middle English; late Old English noun scora, score (plural; unattested singular scoru ) “group of twenty” (apparently originally “notch”), from Old Norse skor “notch”; Middle English verb scoren “to incise, mark with lines, tally debts,” from Old Norse skora “to notch, count by tallies”; later verb senses derivative of the noun; akin to shear

Other words from score

  • scoreless, adjective
  • scorer, noun
  • non·scor·ing, adjective
  • outscore, verb (used with object), out·scored, out·scor·ing.
  • re·score, verb, re·scored, re·scor·ing.
  • un·scored, adjective
  • un·scor·ing, adjective
  • well-scored, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use score in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for score


/ (skɔː) /

  1. an evaluative, usually numerical, record of a competitive game or match

  2. the total number of points made by a side or individual in a game or match

  1. the act of scoring, esp a point or points

  2. the score informal the actual situation; the true facts: to know the score

  3. US and Canadian the result of a test or exam

  4. a group or set of twenty: three score years and ten

  5. (usually plural foll by of) a great number; lots: I have scores of things to do

  6. music

    • the written or printed form of a composition in which the instrumental or vocal parts appear on separate staves vertically arranged on large pages (full score) or in a condensed version, usually for piano (short score) or voices and piano (vocal score)

    • the incidental music for a film or play

    • the songs, music, etc, for a stage or film musical

  7. a mark or notch, esp one made in keeping a tally

  8. an account of amounts due

  9. an amount recorded as due

  10. a reason or account: the book was rejected on the score of length

  11. a grievance

    • a line marking a division or boundary

    • (as modifier): score line

  12. informal the victim of a theft or swindle

  13. dancing notation indicating a dancer's moves

  14. over the score informal excessive; unfair

  15. settle a score or pay off a score

    • to avenge a wrong

    • to repay a debt

  1. to gain (a point or points) in a game or contest

  2. (tr) to make a total score of: to score twelve

  1. to keep a record of the score (of)

  2. (tr) to be worth (a certain amount) in a game

  3. (tr) US and Canadian to evaluate (a test or exam) numerically; mark

  4. (tr) to record by making notches in

  5. to make (cuts, lines, etc) in or on

  6. (intr) slang to obtain something desired, esp to purchase an illegal drug

  7. (intr) slang (of a man) to be successful in seducing a person

  8. (tr)

    • to set or arrange (a piece of music) for specific instruments or voices

    • to write the music for (a film, play, etc)

  9. to achieve (success or an advantage): your idea really scored with the boss

  10. (tr) mainly US and Canadian to criticize harshly; berate

  11. to accumulate or keep a record of (a debt)

Origin of score

Old English scora; related to Old Norse skor notch, tally, twenty

Derived forms of score

  • scorer, noun

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with score


see box score; know the score; pay off (an old score); settle a score.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.