verb (used without object), scuf·fled, scuf·fling.
  1. to struggle or fight in a rough, confused manner.
  2. to go or move in hurried confusion.
  3. to move or go with a shuffle; scuff.
  1. a rough, confused struggle or fight.
  2. a shuffling: a scuffle of feet.
  3. Also called scuffle hoe. a spadelike hoe that is pushed instead of pulled.
  4. (in tap dancing) a forward and backward movement of the foot.

Origin of scuffle

First recorded in 1570–80; see origin at scuff, -le
Related formsscuf·fler, nounscuf·fling·ly, adverb

Synonyms for scuffle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for scuffling

Contemporary Examples of scuffling

Historical Examples of scuffling

  • There was a good deal of scuffling and stamping, and a noise of persons falling.

  • Suddenly there was a scuffling, yells were heard and tables were upset.


    Emile Zola

  • The reporters stopped their scuffling and followed Stern's gaze.

    Martians Never Die

    Lucius Daniel

  • There was a clamorous crowd about the door––pushing, scuffling, shouting.

  • Presently she heard a scuffling noise and cries outside, in the passage.

    A Modern Tomboy

    L. T. Meade

British Dictionary definitions for scuffling


verb (intr)
  1. to fight in a disorderly manner
  2. to move by shuffling
  3. to move in a hurried or confused manner
  1. a disorderly struggle
  2. the sound made by scuffling or shuffling

Word Origin for scuffle

C16: from Scandinavian; compare Swedish skuff, skuffa to push


  1. US a type of hoe operated by pushing rather than pulling

Word Origin for scuffle

C18: from Dutch schoffel shovel
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 scuffling



"to push or fight in a disorderly manner," 1570s, probably a frequentative form of scuff, of Scandinavian origin. Related: Scuffled; scuffling. As a noun c.1600, from the verb.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper