• synonyms


verb (used with object), scrounged, scroung·ing.
  1. to borrow (a small amount or item) with no intention of repaying or returning it: to scrounge a cigarette.
  2. to gather together by foraging; seek out: We'll try to scrounge enough food for supper from the neighbors.
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verb (used without object), scrounged, scroung·ing.
  1. to borrow, especially a small item one is not expected to return or replace.
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  1. a habitual borrower; sponger.
  2. an act or instance of scrounging.
  3. a person who exists by foraging.
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Verb Phrases
  1. scrounge around, to search or forage for something, especially in a haphazard or disorganized fashion; hunt for: We scrounged around for something to eat.
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Also scroung·er (for defs 4, 6).

Origin of scrounge

First recorded in 1905–10; alteration of dial. scringe to glean
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for scroungers

parasite, burglar, sniper, pickpocket, bandit, crook, swindler, criminal, pirate, robber, mugger, vagabond, panhandler, bum, sycophant, sponge, barnacle, bloodsucker, freeloader, scrounger

Examples from the Web for scroungers

Historical Examples of scroungers

  • Besides all that, Pop did not come in fawning and full of extravagant praise, as most scroungers will.

    The Night of the Long Knives

    Fritz Reuter Leiber

  • I reminded myself that it was Pop's business to play up to the both of us, charm being the secret weapon of all scroungers.

    The Night of the Long Knives

    Fritz Reuter Leiber

British Dictionary definitions for scroungers


verb informal
  1. (when intr, sometimes foll by around) to search in order to acquire (something) without cost
  2. to obtain or seek to obtain (something) by cadging or begging
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Derived Formsscrounger, noun

Word Origin for scrounge

C20: variant of dialect scrunge to steal, of obscure origin
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 scroungers



"to acquire by irregular means," 1915, alteration of dialectal scrunge "to search stealthily, rummage, pilfer" (1909), of uncertain origin, perhaps from dialectal scringe "to pry about;" or perhaps related to scrouge, scrooge "push, jostle" (1755, also Cockney slang for "a crowd"), probably suggestive of screw, squeeze. Popularized by the military in World War I. Related: Scrounged; scrounging.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper