[ skrawl ]
See synonyms for: scrawlscrawled on

verb (used with object)
  1. to write or draw in a sprawling, awkward manner: He scrawled his name hastily across the blackboard.

verb (used without object)
  1. to write awkwardly, carelessly, or illegibly.

  1. awkward, careless, or illegible handwriting.

  2. something scrawled, as a letter or a note.

Origin of scrawl

1605–15; perhaps to be identified with late Middle English scraule to sprawl, crawl (blend of sprawl and crawl1)

Other words from scrawl

  • un·scrawled, adjective
  • un·scrawl·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use scrawl in a sentence

  • "Give me a word—the world aches without you," was all I scrawled, though I fully meant that she should come to me.

    The New Machiavelli | Herbert George Wells
  • Obscene words were scrawled on the walls, and even on the pulpit itself.

    Wayside Courtships | Hamlin Garland
  • "Nora" was scrawled in Kathie's handwriting on the outside of the note.

    We Ten | Lyda Farrington Kraus
  • A sentence scrawled below the figure seems to be—er—explanation.

  • It was scrawled in the bold, ungrammared style which might have been expected.

    The Ghost Breaker | Charles Goddard

British Dictionary definitions for scrawl


/ (skrɔːl) /

  1. to write or draw (signs, words, etc) carelessly or hastily; scribble

  1. careless or scribbled writing, drawing, or marks

Origin of scrawl

C17: perhaps a blend of sprawl and crawl 1

Derived forms of scrawl

  • scrawler, noun
  • scrawly, adjective

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