Nearby words

  1. scrapings,
  2. scrapper,
  3. scrapple,
  4. scrappy,
  5. scrapyard,
  6. scratch awl,
  7. scratch card,
  8. scratch coat,
  9. scratch file,
  10. scratch hardness


    from scratch,
    1. from the very beginning or starting point.
    2. 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.

Origin of scratch

1425–75; late Middle English scracche (v.), blend of Middle English scratte to scratch, and cracche to scratch; cognate with Middle Dutch cratsen

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scratcher

British Dictionary definitions for scratcher



a person, animal, or thing that scratches



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
  1. to make a shot resulting in a penalty
  2. 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)
  1. a competitor or the status of a competitor who has no allowance or receives a penalty
  2. (as modifier)a scratch player
the time, initial score, etc, of such a competitor
  1. the line from which competitors start in a race
  2. (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a withdrawn competitor in a race, etc
billiards snooker
  1. a shot that results in a penalty, as when the cue ball enters the pocket
  2. a lucky shot
poultry food
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

Derived Formsscratchy, adjectivescratchily, adverbscratchiness, noun

Word Origin for scratch

C15: via Old French escrater from Germanic; compare Old High German krazzōn (German kratzen); related to Old French gratter to grate 1

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

Word Origin and History for scratcher
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with scratcher


In addition to the idioms beginning with scratch

  • scratch one's head
  • scratch someone's back
  • scratch the surface

also see:

  • 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.