verb (used with object)
  1. to scrape (something) with one's foot or feet.
  2. to rub or scrape (one's foot or feet) over something.
  3. to mar by scraping or hard use, as shoes or furniture.
  4. Chiefly Scot.
    1. to brush against, as in passing.
    2. to brush off; wipe off.
verb (used without object)
  1. to walk without raising the feet from the ground; shuffle.
  2. to scrape or rub one's foot back and forth over something.
  3. to be or become marred or scratched by scraping or wear.
  4. (of machine parts, as gear teeth) to creep from pressure and friction so that ridges appear transversely to the direction of wear.
  1. the act or sound of scuffing.
  2. a flat-heeled slipper with a full-length sole and an upper part covering only the front of the foot.
  3. a marred or scratched place on an item, as from scraping or wear.

Origin of scuff

First recorded in 1585–95, scuff is from the Middle Low German word schūven to shove Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for scuffing

Historical Examples of scuffing

  • He carried the baby to the one little bedroom of his house, scuffing a wooden rocking chair behind him across the rough floor.

  • “Hey,” he said as he came through the door, scuffing at the lock with his key for a minute or two first.

  • They looked back at her for a moment, scuffing their feet in the dirt and not saying anything.

    Homo Inferior

    Mari Wolf

  • Jem Three, scuffing barefoot through the sandy soil, met this radiant dream-maiden with the exalted mien.

    Judith Lynn

    Annie Hamilton Donnell

  • As he left the storehouse, Sssuri trailed him, scuffing each dusty print the scout left.

    Star Born

    Andre Norton

British Dictionary definitions for scuffing


  1. to scrape or drag (the feet) while walking
  2. to rub or scratch (a surface) or (of a surface) to become rubbed or scratched
  3. (tr) US to poke at (something) with the foot
  1. the act or sound of scuffing
  2. a rubbed place caused by scuffing
  3. a backless slipper

Word Origin for scuff

C19: probably of imitative 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 scuffing



1768, "to walk (through or over something) without raising the feet," from Scottish, probably from a Scandinavian source related to Old Norse skufa, skyfa "to shove, push aside," from PIE *skeubh- "to shove" (see shove (v.)). Meaning "injure the surface of" is from 1897. Related: Scuffed; scuffing. As a noun from 1824.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper