Definition of scramble in English:

scramble

verb

  • 1no object, with adverbial of direction Make one's way quickly or awkwardly up a steep gradient or over rough ground by using one's hands as well as one's feet.

    ‘we scrambled over the damp boulders’
    • ‘We take all morning to climb the steep ridge, scrambling over huge granite boulders, taking care not to dislodge stones, which might hit hikers below.’
    • ‘After falling awkwardly injuring her leg, she was unable to get to her feet and scramble back up the embankment to the path above.’
    • ‘He scrambled up the hill with the vegetation catching and pulling at his clothes.’
    • ‘After scrambling up the steep banks and ploughing through the undergrowth with my boat in tow, I emerged bedraggled and muddy.’
    • ‘You can also scramble over rocks, thanks to the shoe's rubber lug sole.’
    • ‘Jameson scramble up the rock face and moved to a position where he could see the path.’
    • ‘I gave chase with the others, scrambling over a steep ridge, mainlining adrenaline, wanting to see the cat run one more time.’
    • ‘We scrambled over some rocks and were soon looking down from about 60 feet onto the lagoons.’
    • ‘Pedestrians took their lives in their hands running the tree-lined gauntlet, forced to scramble up steep bankings if two vehicles met on the narrow stretch.’
    • ‘She broke down in tears as she relived her ordeal and told how she desperately tried to scramble up the steep banking and how she tried to fight off her attacker.’
    • ‘Then people began screaming again and pointing and we ran and scrambled up the hill.’
    • ‘There were no flat landings and we all had to scramble up the steep bank pulling on ferns and trees.’
    • ‘Hopping up quickly, she scrambled down the side of the rock to flat ground; smoothing the winkles of her dress.’
    • ‘Without another moment's pause, Darien rushed forward, scrambling up the wall.’
    • ‘It's worth scrambling into some of the tombs to see the finely marbled stone, ribbed and veined into extraordinary patterns by the forces of nature.’
    • ‘The ground was rocky and Damian quickly scrambled over to Thera.’
    • ‘Joe scrambled up the hill as the rockets blasted the grass below.’
    • ‘The children had been tossed around underwater but managed to get to their feet and scramble to higher ground.’
    • ‘Tripping and scrambling over the uneven ground, she fled blindly.’
    clamber, climb, crawl, claw one's way, scrabble, grope one's way
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Move hurriedly or clumsily from or into a particular place or position.
      ‘she scrambled out of the car’
      ‘I tried to scramble to my feet’
      • ‘Meanwhile, those few who had managed to scramble ashore were sheltering below a ruined Turkish fort.’
      • ‘I used to take the double-decker bus into town to shop for my mother, and Porrock used to go with me, scrambling up the steep stairs to the top deck.’
      • ‘The child scrambled clumsily to her feet and began to run in the other direction.’
      • ‘I scrambled to a sitting position and stared at the person who had burst down the door.’
      • ‘He and several colleagues scrambled into the hall, where they faced a terrifying choice: to their right, fire; to their left, thick smoke.’
      • ‘Kyle's eyes widened and he moved back, eventually scrambling back so fast he fell over.’
      • ‘He quickly let her through, and she scrambled hurriedly to the door, but not before her math teacher got to her.’
      • ‘Panicking, I tried to scramble up and move away, but was too late.’
      • ‘She was up and pushing herself off of the ground quickly and Tristin scrambled away.’
      • ‘She interrupted him again, this time with a hurried bow, and scrambled out of the room before he could finish the question.’
      • ‘He landed roughly on the ground and quickly scrambled to his feet.’
      • ‘Chuck scrambled into her room and began looking everywhere for her.’
      • ‘Nikholas was sitting in front of the cell's bars, although he scrambled to a standing position as Ian entered.’
      • ‘She backed away from him nervously, tripping over a stick, then quickly scrambling to her feet.’
      • ‘She scrambled into bed and turned off the light.’
      • ‘Doctors scrambled around hurriedly requesting tools and pushing nurses out of the way.’
      • ‘Her crew of 24 scrambled into lifeboats as the 50,000-tonne, 200-metre ship went down within 90 minutes.’
      • ‘‘What happened?’ Laras demanded, scrambling to a sitting position and examining his scraped knees and palms.’
      • ‘Workers scrambled to their positions in preparation for what had been determined to be an attack from a monster.’
      • ‘Hailey hurriedly scrambled off the bed, and lunged at James with her arms outstretched.’
      struggle, hurry, scurry, scud, scutter, hasten, rush, race, run
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    2. 1.2scramble into Put (clothes) on hurriedly.
      ‘Robbie scrambled into jeans and a T-shirt’
      • ‘He recalls panic as sirens sounded and troops had to scramble into nuclear, biological and chemical protective suits in temperatures sometimes topping 130F.’
      • ‘She scrambled into her clothing and ran out to the couch.’
      • ‘I was madly scrambling into my drysuit while Bill got the details from the divers, who had been drifting with this group for an hour or so.’
      • ‘Sporadic sounds from instruments and band members yelling filled the room as everyone scrambled into their uniforms and went over their music one last time.’
      • ‘Hastily he got out of bed and scrambled into his clothes.’
      • ‘‘I am now a Bucks fan and I will make sure I'm at the stadium whenever the Bucks play at home,’ he said while scrambling into the familiar black and gold jersey.’
      • ‘I scrambled into my dressing gown and half-dashed half-limped down the stairs.’
    3. 1.3informal with object Perform (an action) or achieve (a result) hurriedly, clumsily, or with difficulty.
      ‘Cork scrambled a 1–0 win over Monaghan’
      • ‘Udall then had to scramble the corner away under pressure from Brian Pennington.’
      • ‘Three minutes later a mix-up in the Fenor goalmouth was penalised when Brian Canty appeared to get the final touch as the ball was scrambled to the net.’
      • ‘The ball is scrambled away for a throw.’
      • ‘The midfielder's fiercely hit left wing cross was scrambled clear.’
      • ‘There was still a chance for Andy Kirk, but the ball was scrambled away.’
      • ‘Frotunately, the kick cracked the foot of the post and was scrambled away.’
      • ‘That fell to Basturk, who cottoned on to Sas' through ball only to see his header scrambled off the line by Omar Daf.’
      • ‘Then he had a shot which struck the post before being scrambled away by the visitors.’
      • ‘A Harte free was dropped by Robbie Jameson before the Eadestown keeper recovered and scrambled the ball to safety.’
      • ‘Mercer, Lee Ashcroft and Foster then combined in a move that was scrambled away from the Telford line.’
      • ‘The young defender almost gave Thistle the lead as early as the sixth minute, but his header from a corner was scrambled clear by Gordon Russell.’
      • ‘But the ball also struck the far post and the Newry defence scrambled it clear.’
      • ‘And he will have been delighted with the way his team kept battling to the end and came closest to scrambling a winner in both recent draws.’
      • ‘Livingston were under the cosh, scrambling the ball clear twice in injury time, but held on desperately for points.’
      • ‘Bath then captured 5-22 and must have been distraught when Bolton were able to scramble a two-wicket win off the final delivery.’
      • ‘Hoyne broke through, was bottled up before he scrambled a pass to Shefflin and he first-timed a low shot from close range.’
      • ‘He went off on a weaving run before chipping through only for the ball to be scrambled clear.’
      • ‘David Wetherall headed the cross for Watford's first corner which was scrambled away.’
      • ‘Gary Louth scrambled an early goal for Bentham and they got a fortunate second when a shot flipped up off a divot and the Grange keeper caught it but fell back over his line.’
      • ‘He raced clear of the defence to scramble the ball past keeper Mark Cairns.’
    4. 1.4with infinitive Struggle or compete with others for something in an eager or uncontrolled and undignified way.
      ‘firms scrambled to win public-sector contracts’
      • ‘Most hospitals are scrambling like crazy to try to fill vacant positions.’
      • ‘She is scrambling to make up ground against her rivals.’
      • ‘With a market downturn, firms are scrambling to sustain those billable hours and are rethinking how much they should pay their PMs, he says.’
      • ‘It is left now to the white collar worker to scramble for a position.’
      • ‘Three powerful recent blasts from three wholly different regions in space have left scientists scrambling.’
      • ‘Shutting the operation down has left ISP Channel affiliates scrambling.’
      • ‘The lunchroom turned into a full-fledged panic as the students scrambled to find shelter.’
      • ‘The bell rang and I jumped before quickly scrambling to collect my books.’
      • ‘Our salespeople really had to scramble to maintain our position.’
      • ‘As a backlash against this silly move builds, the Greens are now scrambling to explain away the mess.’
      • ‘The potential has international ad agencies scrambling for position.’
      • ‘Under green flag racing, drivers are in fighting mode, scrambling for track position.’
      • ‘His family is struggling and scrambling to deal with not only the emotional issues but the financial impact as well.’
      • ‘They have taken over key positions there and are scrambling to devise a plan to salvage the business.’
      • ‘The media bombard the public with calls for more government spending and eager politicians scramble to help in the spend-up.’
      • ‘The software sector lends itself to mergers and takeovers as firms scramble to keep pace with market changes and shifting demand.’
      • ‘It was investors looking for bargains who produced last week's momentum, not shorts scrambling to cover their positions.’
      • ‘The Aggies have been far less competitive than they were last year and are scrambling to salvage something positive out of this season.’
      • ‘The media giant is pulling apart its empire as it scrambles to compete in a changed media world.’
      • ‘This is a new benchmark for LCD production that competitors will have to scramble to emulate.’
      jostle, scuffle, scrimmage, tussle, battle, struggle, strive, compete, contend, vie, jockey
      View synonyms
  • 2with object Order (a fighter aircraft or its pilot) to take off immediately in an emergency or for action.

    ‘the Hurricanes were scrambled again, this time meeting Italian fighters’
    • ‘Now, we've scrambled twelve aircraft, but I can't send them in without presidential authority.’
    • ‘Maj Martin said fighter jets had been scrambled 1,500 times since the September 11 attacks.’
    • ‘Fighter jets have been scrambled in the area and all three major metropolitan airports have been closed.’
    • ‘They scrambled fighter interceptors because they were tracking strange objects on radar making all kinds of radical maneuvers.’
    • ‘An RAF helicopter and a police spotter aircraft were scrambled, and 90 rescuers scoured the moor near Keld, County Durham.’
    • ‘A Royal Navy Rescue Helicopter was scrambled as was the Coastguard rescue helicopter from Stornoway.’
    • ‘Police were dispatched to the scene and an RAF helicopter was scrambled to airlift him to Raigmore Hospital where he was being treated last night.’
    • ‘The Ministry of Defence confirmed an RAF Tornado F3 fighter would have been scrambled if the plane had been hijacked.’
    • ‘The Air Force scrambled interceptor aircraft to investigate, but they found nothing.’
    • ‘The aeronautical rescue co-ordination centre at RAF Kinloss immediately scrambled a helicopter.’
    • ‘RAF helicopters were scrambled and the plane was greeted by armed police backed up by teams of firefighters and paramedics.’
    • ‘The call was to let him know there were going to be jets scrambled after the aircraft.’
    • ‘This leads to the question of why the air force failed to scramble its fighter jets as soon as it received news that four planes had been hijacked.’
    • ‘An RAF rescue helicopter was scrambled from Chivenor in Devon and she was winched up from the beach and flown to Withybush hospital.’
    • ‘The Russian air force scrambled a fighter jet to intercept a Manchester-bound airliner that had strayed into its air space’
    • ‘It proved unsuccessful as no enemy was encountered although Sabres were scrambled.’
    • ‘He replied that he had numerous reports and that the Air Force had scrambled jet fighters to attempt to catch them, but had failed to get close to them.’
    • ‘Fearing further action from Chinese military, the air force scrambled two IDF fighters to aid the Mirage jets.’
    • ‘A rescue helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth was scrambled to aid lifeboat crews in the four-hour search.’
    • ‘Six squadrons of Spitfires and Hurricanes are scrambled.’
    1. 2.1no object (of a fighter aircraft or its pilot) take off for emergency action.
      ‘as the jet headed towards Italian airspace, two F104 fighters scrambled from a base in Sicily to intercept it’
      • ‘I think that there were serious errors in not notifying them in time, serious errors in terms of deciding which air bases were tasked with scrambling.’
      • ‘They will be forced to deploy their guards outside to try and hold you off while one of their squadrons scrambles from the spaceport.’
      • ‘Fighter jets scrambled into the clear blue skies above the American capital.’
      • ‘Jets and bombers scrambled again; the strikes would go on.’
      • ‘We scrambled in squadrons of 12 aircraft from Biggin Hill and climbed like crazy to get over the Germans so we could dive on them.’
      • ‘Fighter jets scramble too late to intercept a private plane flying very close to the White House.’
      • ‘Fighter jets scrambled and diverted the plane to Halifax, Nova Scotia.’
      • ‘In Britain, Royal Air Force fighter planes scrambled today to escort a Greek jetliner to a London airport.’
      • ‘If the plane is acting suspiciously, fighter jets could scramble to intercept.’
      • ‘Seven helicopters scrambled to join the rescue effort there.’
      • ‘Fighter jets and Blackhawk helicopters scrambled before the plane was identified and escorted to the Washington airport.’
      • ‘The aircraft are designed to scramble and intercept incoming enemy jets before they can pose a threat to the carriers.’
      • ‘All twelve of Devil fighters scrambled and accelerated to top speed and engaged the puny defences of Sky Base Beta.’
      • ‘RAF jets will patrol an air-exclusion zone while others will be ready for scrambling at the Leuchars air force base near St Andrews.’
      • ‘True, fighters can scramble to a hot spot earlier than a cruiser, but what's the point in doing so when they get shot down by enemy cruisers in two seconds?’
      • ‘We scrambled, but one plane had trouble and did not get off.’
      • ‘The objects were also picked up by radar, prompting jet fighters to scramble to intercept.’
      • ‘German fighter planes scramble to intercept him but he lands safely.’
  • 3with object Make (something) jumbled or muddled.

    ‘maybe the alcohol has scrambled his brains’
    • ‘I'm going to work today so I won't be able to idle away hours scrambling my brain with these issues.’
    • ‘I asked for that data under the Official Information Act, and I received a scrambled reply from the ministry that said I am allowed a briefing on it.’
    • ‘It is a sometimes unfathomable loudness, so loud the brain just gives up on the ears, assuming the information they are sending is scrambled nonsense.’
    • ‘For a second or two, my brain was totally scrambled.’
    • ‘The study fuelling the latest claims about mobile phones scrambling the mind in fact shows nothing of the kind.’
    • ‘Determined to have their say before senility scrambled their wits, they would sit down in the afterglow of evening to bear witness to the nature of their times.’
    • ‘We sat and watched the screen as it fizzed black and white shapes that during the course of the last three hours had scrambled my tiny mind.’
    • ‘His brain was scrambled, a mess of hash browns, but some twisted force kept him moving.’
    • ‘The film is not quite a confessional cry for help, but on some level it functions as scrambled autobiography.’
    • ‘Two years ago he went there for the Seniors Open with his emotions scrambled.’
    • ‘In the journey of life, those hours spent scrambling your memory for all you can remember about Shakespeare, sonnets and seismology marks an important milestone.’
    • ‘Indeed, time seems scrambled, moving fast and slow together.’
    • ‘After scrambling her brain on joint custody, she has plunged into the maelstrom of superannuation rights for same sex couples.’
    • ‘Yes, I know I'm scrambling the metaphor, but it works for me so let's ignore it and move on.’
    • ‘I've spent a lot of time twisting the knobs, getting the mix almost right before going too far and scrambling the hues again.’
    • ‘Ultimately, unless his fever was reduced with intravenous liquids, it would scramble his brain like eggs in a frying pan.’
    • ‘She has a keen ear for the various mutations of hip-hop that fill clubs on both sides of the Atlantic, and she scrambles these styles in a way that sounds both fresh and inevitable.’
    muddle, confuse, mix up, jumble, jumble up, disarrange, disorganize, disorder, disturb, throw into disorder, throw into confusion, get into a tangle, mess up
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    1. 3.1 Cook (eggs) by beating them with a little liquid and then cooking and stirring them gently.
      ‘you may have your eggs scrambled or boiled’
      • ‘He made breakfast for the two of them, keeping up a constant flow of chatter while he scrambled some eggs and pan-toasted a few slices of bread.’
      • ‘Eggs, whether scrambled, poached or boiled, are popular with everyone.’
      • ‘Usually, the only solution is soaking and scrubbing, which is why I scramble eggs only in non-stick pans.’
      • ‘He simply shrugged and hummed while scrambling some eggs on the hot plate.’
      • ‘Add the eggs and stir gently until softly scrambled.’
      • ‘I advised Caroline to replace her breakfast porridge with scrambled or poached egg and grilled tomatoes.’
      • ‘She begins to scramble some eggs, when Steve comes up from the basement.’
      • ‘It tastes great, whether you're making salad dressing or scrambling a few egg whites.’
      • ‘I also roasted a delicata squash and loosely scrambled some pretty brown eggs, and then I ate very dark chocolate.’
      • ‘For example, try storing uncracked eggs with truffles for a few days, then scramble the eggs.’
      • ‘After scrambling the eggs and buttering the toast, she divided it up on three plates, sliding one in front of Geoff and another in front of Rick.’
      • ‘When my mom and dad came in a while later, I had the eggs scrambled and cooked to a nice golden brown.’
      • ‘In a separate bowl, beat eggs and prepared them to be scrambled.’
      • ‘Push everything to one side, and gently scramble the eggs in the same pan.’
      • ‘The eggs have to be softly scrambled, and cooked in butter.’
      • ‘I actually think the offer of a kipper was just a bluff, and doubt that the ‘chef’ in those guest houses would've been able to scramble an egg.’
      • ‘This amazing new kitchen appliances perfectly scrambles an egg inside the shell.’
      • ‘By the time I had begun frying the bacon and scrambling the eggs, my uncle had joined me in the kitchen.’
      • ‘A legacy from Italian colonial days is the frittata, made by scrambling eggs with onion and peppers.’
    2. 3.2 Make (a broadcast transmission or telephone conversation) unintelligible unless received by an appropriate decoding device.
      ‘the signal is scrambled into code’
      • ‘All data in the payloads is scrambled, but framing bytes in the overhead consist of fixed data patterns and thus are not scrambled.’
      • ‘A song will be scrambled, and downloaded simply as raw, unintelligible data.’
      • ‘The scrambled data can only be unlocked with passwords that you determine.’
      • ‘Voice data also arrives scrambled, but it's more complicated because of the real-time nature of VOIP.’
      • ‘What we don't know is if NSA is able to crack PGP messages scrambled using 1024 character codes.’
      • ‘That could cause bits of information to disappear or become scrambled in transmission, and render the chip useless.’
      • ‘He also said a weak signal could be scrambled and be undetected by another broadcaster.’
      • ‘If he can't meet members of the JTTF face-to-face, he talks to them on a secure telephone that scrambles his conversations.’
      • ‘Use a secure browser - software that encrypts or scrambles information you send over the Internet - to guard the security of your online transactions.’
      • ‘The basis of conditional access technology rests on scrambling and descrambling the pictures on your screen.’
      • ‘When we negotiate, our clients certainly want a program, which scrambles a signal so you can't copy it.’
  • 4no object (of a quarterback) run with the ball behind the line of scrimmage, avoiding tackles.

    ‘McNabb scrambled in the third quarter and threw a touchdown pass to Maddox’
    • ‘He can scramble to avoid pressure and pick up yardage on the run, but he doesn't have a pro arm and is accurate in streaks.’
    • ‘Brad Johnson scrambles for 10 yards on third down to get the first down.’
    • ‘He can scramble enough for his receivers to get open, and he can throw a tight pass in traffic.’
    • ‘There are four new starters on an inexperienced line, so the team needs a quarterback who can scramble and react to the blitz.’
    • ‘I recall a game from my playing days with the Broncos when we were playing the Vikings in Minnesota and John Elway scrambled in the red zone.’

noun

  • 1usually in singular A difficult or hurried clamber up or over something.

    ‘an undignified scramble over the wall’
    • ‘The next hour was a constant scramble through tangled trees, around in circles, and hiding behind bushes.’
    clamber, climb, ascent, trek
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A mountain walk up steep terrain involving the use of one's hands.
      ‘the route gives an excellent scramble up on to the narrow summit ridge’
      • ‘A long, lingering snow patch gave a superb standing glissade back down to the col before the last scramble up to An Caisteal, the castle.’
      • ‘This delivers a scramble over boulders and down the backside of a fairly impressive granite dome.’
      • ‘Fine views gradually emerge of falls across the steep canyon, though don't try the hazardous scramble down to them.’
      • ‘From there it is a straightforward, if steep, scramble on a scree-covered footpath all the way to the summit.’
      • ‘Together, they have scaled the stony scramble of Stirrup Crag at Yewbarrow, hit the heights of Helvellyn twice and negotiated the precarious pathway of Striding Edge.’
      • ‘You can walk much of the 2-mile-long crack, formed thousands of years ago, but at times it's more of a scramble and a squeeze.’
      • ‘The walk up the river bed was more of a scramble, as it had rained overnight and the large, algae covered boulders were treacherous and slippery.’
      • ‘The Askival Pinnacle can be climbed on its west side by a difficult scramble but can be avoided by a traverse on the east side of the ridge.’
      • ‘This is passed by a delicate traverse on the left to a scramble down and final chimney, or else is laddered also to the left.’
      • ‘After a short scramble through impressive rock architecture, turn right over a slab to gain the summit of north peak, an airy viewpoint.’
      • ‘That first ascent was a good scramble, with a little light rock climbing and much vertigo.’
      • ‘A steeper, rocky scramble leads directly to the summit of Ben More at 966m.’
      • ‘A rough scramble reaches the highest rock, the mountain's summit.’
      • ‘At the Hermitage they had a glorious scramble up the Mueller Glacier to Mount Ollivier on the Sealy Range before they cycled on to Wanaka, Cromwell and Dunedin.’
      • ‘The first is the scramble through the lakeshore rocks in the fog, where shadowy figures pop up and disappear before it can be determined who they are.’
      • ‘Crisp air, soaring mountain faces, a scramble up a chain ladder that took us up a short cliff face and then a walk across the summit plateau brought us to what felt like the lip of the world.’
      • ‘It's a quick scramble down from the summit to my skis.’
      • ‘The choice of routes covers the full spectrum of climbing grades from difficult scrambles, to E8 multi-pitch climbs achievable only by those with Spiderman-like abilities.’
      • ‘It is a scramble, but it's not difficult and, if the crest is too airy for you, it's easy enough to trace a less exposed route on the east side of the ridge.’
      • ‘It involved a scramble over a scree pile, then a bit of free-climbing up a fissure in the granite.’
    2. 1.2British A motorcycle race over rough and hilly ground.
      ‘a local landowner allowed some kids to hold a motorbike scramble in the woods’
      • ‘Speedway racing is not the only interest of the new club - members will go to scrambles and TT races.’
      • ‘In August 1988 planning permission was refused for the proposed use for a motor cycle scramble / motor cycle track for practice only.’
    3. 1.3 An eager or uncontrolled and undignified struggle with others to obtain or achieve something.
      ‘I lost Tommy in the scramble for a seat’
      • ‘The mad scramble for tickets is continuing in both counties with just over 26,000 allocated in Cork and Kilkenny.’
      • ‘Expect the scramble for cement, for lumber, for raw materials in the booming southeast to continue.’
      • ‘Doctors, social workers and people with HIV describe a desperate scramble to gain access to lifesaving medications.’
      • ‘There is a scramble - a modern gold rush - to patent as much of the genome as possible.’
      • ‘The war was a scramble for the control of the second largest oil reserves in the world and a move to establish its imperial hegemony.’
      • ‘The key is to offer candidates good reason to turn away from the scramble for corporate and private dollars.’
      • ‘Yorkshire schools are resorting to poaching teachers from each other as a mad scramble to beat the shortages and fill vacancies in time for September begins.’
      • ‘Now its dash to grab market share has turned into a scramble to sack workers.’
      • ‘The lesser lights realistically are hoping to lift support for their party, bearing in mind the post-election scramble to form a government.’
      • ‘Again, if demand for rented accommodation slackens further, investors might high-tail it out of the market, pushing prices down in the scramble.’
      • ‘As even public universities become more privatized, the scramble for external funding wedges the two castes further apart.’
      • ‘Numerous human rights violations have been committed in the scramble for these riches.’
      • ‘At one point water began flowing from the back of a firetruck and firefighters were seen making a mad scramble to turn off the supply.’
      • ‘A rise in the number of expensive private fitness centres in Scotland has led to an unprecedented scramble for customers.’
      • ‘A property tycoon has put an historic Scottish abbey up for auction for more than £1million, starting a scramble among local people to raise the cash.’
      • ‘They were unaware that a degraded environment leads to a scramble for scarce resources and may culminate in poverty and even war.’
      • ‘I had to drop all four of them off, and it was a real scramble to get their shoes together and to get their homework material together, and to drop them off like that.’
      • ‘The scramble for rail tickets began today, as eager passengers tried to secure scarce Christmas seats.’
      • ‘Both sides embarked on an escalating public relations battle and a frantic scramble for the moral high ground.’
      • ‘As with test publishers, the scramble to boost revenues sometimes leads test-prep companies to violate ethical standards.’
      struggle, hurry, rush, race, scurry
      tussle, jostle, scrimmage, scuffle, battle, struggle, free-for-all, competition, contention, vying, jockeying
      View synonyms
  • 2usually in singular An emergency take-off by fighter aircraft.

    ‘the scramble might be a training exercise or it might not’
  • 3usually in singular A disordered mixture of things.

    ‘the girl's mouth was a scramble of orthodontist's hardware’
    • ‘On some pieces the letters are outlined, resulting in a jumbled scramble of dirty lines and tainted colour.’
    • ‘Pro-democracy politicians have put the best face they can on a confusing scramble to realign their election strategy in advance of the September Legco election.’
    • ‘Back in Dili the next day the confusion created by the scramble of so many players in the campaign is on show for all to see and hear.’
    muddle, jumble, mix-up, confusion, entanglement, mishmash, shambles
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 16th century: imitative; compare with the dialect words scamble ‘stumble’ and cramble ‘crawl’.

Pronunciation

scramble

/ˈskramb(ə)l/