to break, mar, or mark the surface of by rubbing, scraping, or tearing with something sharp or rough: to scratch one's hand on a nail.
to dig, scrape, or tear (something) out or off with or as if with the nails, claws, etc.: to scratch the burs off one's coat.
to rub or scrape slightly, as with the fingernails, to relieve itching.
to rub or draw along a rough, grating surface: to scratch a match on the sidewalk.
to erase, cancel, strike out, or eliminate (a name, something written, etc.) by or as if by drawing a line through it (often followed by out): Scratch out the third name on the list.
to withdraw (an entry) from a race or competition.
to divide (one's vote) though predominantly supporting one political party or faction.
to strike out or reject a particular name or names on (a party ticket) in voting.
to write or draw by scraping or cutting the lines into a surface: She scratched her initials on the glass.
to manipulate (a phonograph record) back and forth under the stylus to produce rhythmic sounds.
to use the nails, claws, etc., for tearing, digging, etc.
to relieve itching by rubbing or scraping lightly, as with the fingernails.
to make a slight grating noise, as a pen.
to earn a living or to manage in any respect with great difficulty: We scratched along that year on very little money.
to withdraw or be withdrawn from a contest or competition.
(in certain card games) to make no score; earn no points.
Billiards, Pool. to make a shot that results in a penalty, especially to pocket the cue ball without hitting the object ball.
a slight injury, mar, or mark, usually thin and shallow, caused by scratching: three scratches on my leg; a noticeable scratch on the table.
a rough mark made by a pen, pencil, etc.; scrawl.
an act of scratching.
the slight grating sound caused by scratching.
the starting place, starting time, or status of a competitor in a handicap who has no allowance and no penalty.
a shot resulting in a penalty, especially a pocketing of the cue ball without hitting the object ball.
a fluke or lucky shot.
(in certain card games) a score of zero; nothing.
Baseball. scratch hit.
Slang. money; cash.
used for hasty writing, notes, etc.: scratch paper.
without any allowance, penalty, or handicap, as a competitor or contestant.
Informal. done by or dependent on chance: a scratch shot.
Informal. gathered hastily and indiscriminately: a scratch crew.
done or made from scratch: a scratch cake.
Idioms about scratch
from the very beginning or starting point.
from nothing; without resources: After the depression he started another business from scratch.
up to scratch, in conformity with a certain standard; adequate; satisfactory: The local symphony orchestra has improved this year, but it is still not up to scratch.
- scratch·a·ble, adjective
- scratch·a·bly, adverb
- scratcher, noun
- scratchless, adjective
- scratchlike, adjective
- un·scratch·a·ble, adjective
- un·scratched, adjective
- un·scratch·ing, adjective
Other definitions for Scratch (2 of 2)
Old Scratch; Satan.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use scratch in a sentence
In other industries, however, there may be an opportunity to update existing content instead of creating something from scratch that heavily overlaps with what you’ve already published.How content consolidation can help boost your rankings | George Nguyen | September 10, 2020 | Search Engine Land
By helping us get smarter together, community intelligence holds untapped potential of which we are just starting to scratch the surface.The race for a COVID-19 vaccine shows the power of ‘community intelligence’ | matthewheimer | September 9, 2020 | Fortune
This is certainly a good time-saver, but if you want to start again from scratch, that’s fine too.
Neural networks can learn these rules from scratch, by trial and error, but that takes lots of time, computing power, and data—all of which can be expensive.Disco, bell bottoms, big hair…and cutting-edge A.I.? | Jeremy Kahn | September 8, 2020 | Fortune
What Dom and I have hit upon is a way to do everything from scratch that lets you start off working model-independently.Conducting the Mathematical Orchestra From the Middle | Rachel Crowell | September 2, 2020 | Quanta Magazine
“You try to always scratch where the itch is,” Huckabee said about his campaigning and rhetoric in the 2008 primary.
“scratch a liberal, find a fascist every time,” Woods tweeted in April.How James Woods Became Obama’s Biggest Twitter Troll | Asawin Suebsaeng | December 31, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
People will always scratch and save if a sudden burst of unrestrained pleasure can be purchased.
Starting from scratch is never easy—and the team of journalists had serious competitors in Russia's state-owned media.
“In the past, my goal was to have you scratch your head and then maybe nod it,” she says.
But the Mexican caballeros had no notion of coming up to the scratch a third time.
Not so much, either; 'cause a chicken will stir round an' scratch a livin' out the ground, sooner 'n starve.Dorothy at Skyrie | Evelyn Raymond
There was a fierce fight in which Dora came off victorious, with a scratch or two on her face and a torn dress.The Cromptons | Mary J. Holmes
She received the infection on a part of the hand which had been previously in a slight degree injured by a scratch from a thorn.An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae | Edward Jenner
He must have had a pin stuck in his glove, for I felt a slight scratch across the palm.The Doctor of Pimlico | William Le Queux
British Dictionary definitions for scratch
to mark or cut (the surface of something) with a rough or sharp instrument
(often foll by at, out, off, etc) to scrape (the surface of something), as with claws, nails, etc
to scrape (the surface of the skin) with the nails, as to relieve itching
to chafe or irritate (a surface, esp the skin)
to make or cause to make a grating sound; scrape
(tr sometimes foll by out) to erase by or as if by scraping
(tr) to write or draw awkwardly
(intr sometimes foll by along) to earn a living, manage, etc, with difficulty
to withdraw (an entry) from a race, match, etc
(intr) billiards snooker
to make a shot resulting in a penalty
to make a lucky shot
(tr) US to cancel (the name of a candidate) from a party ticket in an election
(intr often foll by for) Australian informal to be struggling or in difficulty, esp in earning a living
to treat (a subject) superficially
you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours if you will help me, I will help you
the act of scratching
a slight injury
a mark made by scratching
a slight grating sound
(in a handicap sport)
a competitor or the status of a competitor who has no allowance or receives a penalty
(as modifier): a scratch player
the time, initial score, etc, of such a competitor
the line from which competitors start in a race
(formerly) a line drawn on the floor of a prize ring at which the contestants stood to begin or continue fighting
a withdrawn competitor in a race, etc
a shot that results in a penalty, as when the cue ball enters the pocket
a lucky shot
from scratch informal from the very beginning
up to scratch (usually used with a negative) informal up to standard
sport (of a team) assembled hastily
(in a handicap sport) with no allowance or penalty
informal rough or haphazard
- scratchy, adjective
- scratchily, adverb
- scratchiness, 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 scratch
In addition to the idioms beginning with scratch
- scratch one's head
- scratch someone's back
- scratch the surface
- from scratch
- up to par (scratch)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.