[ skrach-iz ]
/ ˈskrætʃ ɪz /

noun (used with a singular verb) Veterinary Pathology.

a disease of horses marked by dry rifts or chaps that appear on the skin near the fetlock, behind the knee, or in front of the hock.

Origin of scratches

First recorded in 1605–15; see origin at scratch, -s3

Definition for scratches (2 of 3)

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


Definition for scratches (3 of 3)

[ skrach ]
/ skrætʃ /


Old Scratch; Satan.

Origin of Scratch

1730–40; alteration of scrat hermaphrodite (late Middle English scratte; compare Old English scritta (once), which may be an error for *scratta); cognate with Old Norse skratti devil, goblin, wizard, Old High German skraz wood-demon Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scratches

British Dictionary definitions for scratches (1 of 2)

/ (ˈskrætʃɪz) /


(functioning as singular) a disease of horses characterized by dermatitis in the region of the fetlockAlso called: cracked heels, mud fever

Word Origin for scratches

C16: so called because it makes the pastern appear to be scratched

British Dictionary definitions for scratches (2 of 2)

/ (skrætʃ) /




Derived forms of scratch

scratchy, 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

Idioms and Phrases with scratches


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.