Definition of scrape in English:



  • 1[with object] Drag or pull a hard or sharp implement across (a surface or object) so as to remove dirt or other matter.

    ‘remove the green tops from the carrots and scrape them’
    [with object and complement] ‘we scraped the dishes clean’
    • ‘Peel the onions and scrape or thinly peel the carrots (if they are young you could leave some of the green stalk on them).’
    • ‘Using a lemon zester scrape the carrots to produce short pieces as you would if you were zesting a lemon.’
    • ‘When I make dinner now and my children barely touch a bite, I see dollar bills going in the trash as I scrape the dinner dishes after the meal.’
    • ‘‘Fettlers’ would have chipped off the rough edges, and apprentices would have filed and scraped the surfaces to a brilliant finish.’
    • ‘To do a Pap test, the nurse or doctor gently scrapes the surface of the cervix to collect lining cells.’
    • ‘The inner surface can be scraped off, sliced thin and used as an inlay for jewellery items.’
    • ‘My mother stood over the sink all day wiping and scraping the dirty round surfaces.’
    • ‘From the cigarette pack he pulled a large sewing needle and began to scrape the insides of the bowl's tube.’
    • ‘There, the sight of techies tapping out messages on the BlackBerry was as common as snowplows scraping Chicago streets after a storm.’
    • ‘Sometimes the ship just gets too overrun with barnacles and the whole thing has to be scraped clean.’
    • ‘My throat felt rather like it had been scraped with a sharp metal instrument.’
    • ‘In many cases the surfaces are scraped and repainted and color areas are inlaid like pieces of marble.’
    • ‘While using, scrape the inside wall of the container often to keep residue from hardening and dropping pieces into the compound.’
    • ‘Once the cut has been made, scrape the inside using an old spoon to remove all the seeds and membrane attached to the sides and bottom of the gourd.’
    • ‘The track had been recently scraped smooth so the beck, the crystalline flow on many a Helmsley postcard, was a little dirty.’
    • ‘In response to complaints, the Council scraped the surface of the car park earlier this year to remove the loose ground.’
    • ‘Dip your brush lightly, scrape one side clean, then push a small blob of paint carefully along in front of the brush, like a bow wave in front of a boat.’
    • ‘Simply scrape the surface of the carrots with the blade of a sharp knife - and it wastes less carrot, too.’
    • ‘Select a material for the porous dam that can be easily cleaned by scraping the surface.’
    • ‘But when the contractors began scraping the surface of the ground to renew the track, one of the machines caught against the main.’
    rake, drag, push, brush, sweep
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    1. 1.1[with object and adverbial]Use a sharp or hard implement to remove (dirt or unwanted matter) from something.
      ‘she scraped the mud off her shoes’
      • ‘I had to go up on the roof yesterday to scrape the snow and ice off the TV antenna.’
      • ‘The grease will harden and can then be scraped off with a knife.’
      • ‘The glue and paint residue will have to be scraped and sanded after you have put the solvent on the concrete slab.’
      • ‘Watch it carefully to see when it begins to soften, then immediately remove the heat and scrape the adhesive off with a putty knife.’
      • ‘Over the next half-day, opium will seep out through these holes in the form of a milky sap that can be scraped off the side of the pod.’
      • ‘The traffic spokesperson said all roads in the province were open again after graders were used to scrape snow and ice off the tar.’
      • ‘I then used the card to scrape the ice off the windshield.’
      • ‘Ship hulls could be encased in rust that had to be scraped or cut off; potentially valuable copper wires had to be separated from worthless refuse.’
      • ‘He picked up a twig from the ground and scraped the dirt off his boots before stepping into a small scullery and calling out.’
      • ‘Research now indicates that the mold which people usually scrape off the surface of jellies may not be as harmless as it seems.’
      • ‘He pointed to a spot on the weapon's surface which had been worn down a bit, as if someone had tried to scrape something off the surface.’
      • ‘The fishing piers create viable habitats for creatures such as oysters, mussels and sponges which are easily scraped from the sides of the pilings.’
      • ‘He was scraping the dirt off of the hoof of a horse.’
      • ‘Here's some of the dirt you scraped from the undersides of your gumshoes.’
      • ‘Kowalski scraped dirt from the machine until he uncovered the name of the manufacturer, which, luckily, was still in business.’
      • ‘The milky fluid is scraped off the pods and hardens into a brown gum that is raw opium.’
      • ‘Rising to his feet, he scraped some moss off of the side of the tree, carefully putting it into a container, and shook the rest off his hands.’
      • ‘Penny, who books bands for the Gladstone Hotel, is scraping a ‘breakfast special’ decal off the window.’
      • ‘This was the golden age of steam and his first job was cleaning locomotives inside and out, which meant scraping the ashes out of the fireboxes, a hard, dusty and dirty job.’
      • ‘I just spent an hour scraping dirt off chairs for a party I'm not even going to.’
      abrade, grate, sand, sandpaper, scour, scratch, rub, file, rasp
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    2. 1.2[with object and adverbial]Apply (a hard or sharp implement) to a surface so as to remove dirt or other matter.
      ‘he scraped the long-bladed razor across the stubble on his cheek’
      • ‘He walked out into the alleyway, scraping the knives along a wall and causing sparks to fly from the blade in the darkened alley.’
      • ‘She saw him park and then she scraped her key along the side of his car, scratching the paint.’
      • ‘He walked out into the alleyway, scraping the knife along a brick wall and causing sparks to fly from the blade in the darkened alley.’
      • ‘Now, I understand that there are a probably a host of reasons that one might want to spend their spare time scraping a razor along their most delicate of parts.’
      abrade, grate, sand, sandpaper, scour, scratch, rub, file, rasp
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    3. 1.3Make (a hollow) by scraping away soil or rock.
      ‘he found a ditch, scraped a hole, and put the bag in it’
      • ‘We drove along a barely made road that petered out into a dirt track scraped out of the red sandy soil.’
      • ‘Elsewhere in Sri Lanka, residents took on burial efforts with forks or even bare hands to scrape a final resting place for victims.’
      scoop out, hollow out, dig out, dig, excavate, gouge out, quarry, make
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  • 2Rub or cause to rub by accident against a rough or hard surface, causing damage or injury.

    [no object] ‘he smashed into the wall and felt his teeth scrape against the plaster’
    [with object] ‘she reversed in a reckless sweep, scraping the Range Rover’
    • ‘Along the way, I scraped my arm on some of the grips and kicked someone in the head.’
    • ‘Smashing through the rusty outer hull of the Vanguard was easy, though I scraped my hand and arm along the way.’
    • ‘The rough bark scraped her palms raw, but she ignored the pain and scrabbled up onto the branch.’
    • ‘It took them less than five minutes to damage the truck, scraping it along another vehicle while trying to park.’
    • ‘I reach it eventually and crawl inside, scraping myself in various places as I did so.’
    • ‘The branches of trees scraped my arms, leaving in their wake bloody trails along my skin, but there was no pain.’
    • ‘At any moment the viewer feels the object could collapse around Maloney or scrape her with its hard edges.’
    • ‘He attempted this, and only succeeded in scraping his back along the rough side of a stone that stuck out of the ground.’
    • ‘He held it close enough to her throat so that if she moved in any direction she would scrape her neck on the blade of the dagger.’
    • ‘He had fallen headlong out of the car door, skidding and scraping his head along the concrete as he went.’
    • ‘Contractors are also updating the pool side and changing facilities, after bathers complained of scraping themselves on rough concrete around the pool when climbing in and out.’
    • ‘As I skidded, my right cheek scraped against the grey surface and my head tapped the concrete.’
    • ‘Frankie tripped over his own foot and scraped his knee on the concrete sidewalk.’
    • ‘Successfully managed to crash the car by scraping the side along some concrete bollards.’
    • ‘She continued to run through the harsh branches as they scraped her soft skin slightly.’
    • ‘Kent slapped the cuffs on both of us, and then tugged cruelly on them, making them scrape against our skin.’
    • ‘Residents say that their cars are being hit and scraped by motorists driving too fast along the road.’
    • ‘She felt herself being caught and held, her cheek scraping against the rough concrete as he pulled her upwards.’
    • ‘He scraped the length of a Ferrari Spider along a lorry, the prosecutor told Colchester Magistrates yesterday.’
    • ‘Her chin scraped against the rough bark of a fallen tree trunk and her arm twisted painfully beneath her.’
    graze, scratch, abrade, scuff, rasp, skin, rub raw, cut, lacerate, bark, chafe, strip, flay, wound
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    1. 2.1[with object]Draw or move (something) along or over something else, making a harsh noise.
      ‘she scraped back her chair and stood up’
      • ‘I could hear my room-mates scraping their chairs back as they quickly jumped up to follow me.’
      • ‘Chairs were scraped back and many of the men exited the dining room at the news and Arial glanced after them impatiently.’
      • ‘Bender takes a single key from his pocket and scrapes its tip along the plaster of the wall, the sound a dry kind of whistle.’
      • ‘The brown-haired man stood, scraping the chair back, and held his hand out to her across the desk.’
      • ‘I folded my arms over my chest and looked down, scraping my foot against the pavement in a circular motion.’
      • ‘Biting into this is almost a miniature version of scraping your fingernails along a blackboard.’
      • ‘Raven shook his head and scraped his foot along the tiles until they squeaked their protest.’
      • ‘Still looking away, she stood up, scraping her stool along the tile floor.’
      • ‘‘I guess I just needed to hear it,’ he muttered, scraping his chair back.’
      • ‘I scraped the stone against the blade harder, hoping to drown out her voice and signify that I didn't want to talk.’
      • ‘In the opening scenes, her pool party guests lazily scrape their sun chairs along the deck making an incredible racket.’
    2. 2.2[no object]Move with or make a harsh scraping sound.
      ‘she lifted the gate to prevent it scraping along the ground’
      • ‘I stayed at her side as we threaded our way through the room, accompanied by the sound of furniture scraping on the floor as patrons shied away from me.’
      • ‘He crept a little more into the alley, his boots scraping on the abandoned cobblestones.’
      • ‘I heard utensils scrape against the kitchen ware.’
      • ‘I heard something scrape against the wall and turned to see Emma striking a match.’
      • ‘The van's sliding door scraped open and three kids got out; a boy and a girl in their early teens, and another boy a few years younger.’
      • ‘I heard shoes scrape against gravel, and I felt Dylan being yanked away from me.’
      • ‘Suddenly she heard the sound of chains scraping as they descended the stairs, accompanied by the heavy footsteps of the goblins.’
      • ‘Along with the voices come some shuffling sounds, likes shoes scraping against concrete.’
      • ‘Spoons clatter, wooden benches scrape against the stone floor.’
      • ‘Kael looked up at the sound of the chair scraping back along the ground.’
      • ‘Ms. Lamell shouted over the sounds of chairs and desks scraping against the floor.’
      • ‘His boot heels scraped against the hardwood floor, eliciting a clipped echo from the plank boards.’
      • ‘Josephine nodded in my direction and I heard the sound of a chair scraping against the wooden floor.’
      • ‘The screech of streetcars as their metal wheels scrape against metal tracks - I kept calling them trams and confusing those who didn't understand my origins.’
      • ‘His father's voice spoke closer and he heard his boots scrape against the steps.’
      • ‘There was a brief pause, as neither of us said anything; the only sound was the needle of my fountain pen scraping mundanely on the rough paper.’
      • ‘Lilith opened the door, careful to lift it slightly so that it would not scrape against the ground.’
      • ‘The box scraped hard over the small rocks and sand creating an unsettling noise.’
      • ‘By the sound of the leather boots scraping against the ground, I realized that it was Master Hermance.’
      • ‘He could hear something scraping against the rough walls.’
      grate, creak, grind, jar, rasp, scratch, drag, rub, squeak, screech, grit, set someone's teeth on edge
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    3. 2.3[no object, with adverbial]Narrowly pass by or through something.
      ‘there was only just room to scrape through between the tree and the edge of the stream’
    4. 2.4humorous [no object]Play a violin tunelessly.
      ‘Olivia was scraping away at her violin’
      • ‘The drones and bleeps give way to the empty spaces of ‘Native Einstein’, whose bells and cymbals and scraping violins seem to speak of desolation and loss.’
    5. 2.5[with object]Draw one's hair tightly back off the forehead.
      ‘her hair was scraped back into a bun’
      • ‘I wander into the open plan dining area and scrape my hair back again.’
      • ‘It's in the way she wears her sleeves over her hands and the way she absent-mindedly scrapes her hair back into a ponytail.’
      • ‘I quizzed Roxanne as she scraped her dark hair back into a tight bun.’
      • ‘She says, ‘You got all that pretty hair, why you scrape it back so sharply?’’
      • ‘My hair was scraped back into a painfully tight and still considerably wet ponytail.’
      • ‘I stuffed my feet into my tennis shoes and scraped my hair back into a messy pony tail.’
      • ‘It certainly isn't a glamorous photo - I wasn't wearing any make-up, my hair was scraped back and my clothes look crumpled and unflattering.’
      • ‘He wrote, ‘She is known for scraping her hair back into an ultra-tight, skin-tautening ponytail dubbed the Croydon facelift.‘’
      • ‘She was short like her daughter but her hair was scraped back in a bun and she was a bit on the plump side.’
      • ‘She was pale and had a slim figure and her hair was scraped back into a messy bun.’
      • ‘I tugged the toast out of my mouth and dropped it on the plate, grabbing a hair tie from a surface nearby and scraping my hair back into a ponytail.’
      • ‘Strikingly tall and model-thin, her hair is scraped back from her face and hangs down her back in a thick, dark, waist-length plait.’
      • ‘Dressed all in black with high-heeled boots, her hair is scraped back in a ponytail, revealing sculpted cheekbones.’
    6. 2.6British [with object and adverbial]Spread (butter or margarine) thinly over bread.
      ‘she became involved with scraping butter on to a piece of toast’
  • 3[with object] Just manage to achieve; accomplish with great effort or difficulty.

    ‘Scotland scraped a lucky home draw with Portugal’
    ‘for some years he scraped a living as a tutor’
    • ‘The Haxby-based side played two games against White Horse and just scraped a 1-0 win with a goal from Richard Hunt.’
    • ‘Though they had difficulty scraping a living, they somehow managed to feed, clothe and even send to school their army of poor kids.’
    • ‘I don't know how she did it, but she managed to scrape a seventy-four percent approval of the petition.’
    • ‘The Englishmen struggled to scrape a 1-0 win in Sarajevo, and managed to extend the margin back home only because of an exceptional performance by Kieron Dyer.’
    • ‘Liu now scrapes a living writing articles on political reform in China.’
    • ‘I was bright enough to spot something that needed to be done and made it mine to some extent and scraped a living out of it.’
    • ‘They managed to turn it around to scrape a 14-12 victory but for Atkins there was no pride in victory.’
    • ‘They've been scraping a living along the East Coast for centuries - an ancient Enclosure Act mentions a parcel of land being set aside for them in Hornsea.’
    • ‘Even though we were down a man almost from the start, we managed to scrape a 9-9 draw.’
    • ‘Now she's scraping a living together, in large part due to gifts she gets from townsfolk in return for her psychic card readings.’
    • ‘For the few who can beg, borrow and scrape enough money and courage to place their lives in the hands of a people smuggler, they try to get to countries like Australia.’
    • ‘There was another dramatic game in Edinburgh as Aberdeen Asset Management scraped a 4-3 victory over MIM.’
    • ‘As a result, his farm scrapes a modest £20,000 a year profit, which he claims ‘supports three families’.’
    • ‘Darwin the gentleman was secure in his world of privilege and power while Wallace the impoverished enthusiast scraped a living selling butterflies and birdskins.’
    • ‘Volunteers Reserves had to work hard to scrape a 4-3 win over Sporting Civil Service with Kev Jackson scoring twice.’
    • ‘Mom can just scrape the money for this, but not easily.’
    • ‘This was the mistake that Anthony Ricketts made the last time they met in Dutch league, with Ricketts scraping a hard fought win in 4.’
    • ‘He was 26, scraping a living as a private tutor, and came to call with his dashing friend Edward Irving, who had once been Jane's teacher.’
    • ‘In recent months the Clyde has been a popular place to fish and most boats have always managed to scrape a fairly decent week's wages.’
    • ‘If they do manage to scrape a living, they say, it is by running more cows with less help and working 70-80 hours a week themselves.’
    achieve, secure, obtain, seize, pluck, wrest
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    1. 3.1Collect or accumulate something with difficulty.
      ‘they could hardly scrape up enough money for one ticket, let alone two’
      • ‘After coming to graduate school, I scraped a little money together and went to a therapist for a while.’
      • ‘I have no money after barely managing to scrape the rent together last Friday, and my bank account is woefully overdrawn.’
      • ‘Smith has built something from virtually nothing, scraping a festival together and building it slowly over decades.’
      • ‘To go travelling further next year I'll need to scrape some savings together as this trip has rather depleted them.’
      • ‘The surviving examples have been scraped up by serious collectors or modified into later models.’
      • ‘There are teams like Tonga, who could barely scrape enough money together to get here.’
      • ‘Joanne is busy applying to grant-awarding bodies to try to scrape the cash together so she can take up her place on the three-year course.’
      • ‘Most of my close female single friends live in squalid flats and have difficulty scraping up the rent.’
      • ‘Every time I can scrape a few quid together, I smack 'em straight into the premium bonds.’
      • ‘Last weekend was horrible - we were literally, completely skint and I even had to scrape some coppers together for toilet tissue!’
      • ‘That will be forgotten eventually as the evidence is scraped together for the post-mortem.’
      • ‘I couldn't remember half of what I'd written, and I'd have to cancel my volunteer work to scrape enough time together to get it done.’
      • ‘The website doesn't contain contact information for any of their MPs, and only a few incomplete details can be scraped together from the Government Portal.’
      • ‘She managed to scrape a few rands together to put her children through school and put food on the table.’
      • ‘He knew how hard it was for some employees to scrape up a down payment.’
      • ‘How we ever scraped the money together to buy gobstoppers and comics after all this outlay of our precious resources was down to odd jobs and paper rounds.’
      • ‘I just hope now that I can scrape enough tack together from other places to be able to run some lessons as planned.’
      • ‘The tuition is rather lofy but I dare say we can scrape it together for the sake of our children.’
      • ‘We bought this place by scraping the money together, borrowing and scrabbling about.’
      • ‘It was a haphazard process, dependent on individual initiative and whatever funding could be scraped together.’
      collect, amass, gather, rake together, rake up, dredge up, get hold of, raise, muster, accumulate, build up
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    2. 3.2[no object]Try to save as much money as possible; economize.
      ‘they had scrimped and scraped and saved for years’
      • ‘When she was their age, she thinks, we had to scrimp and scrape for soap.’
      • ‘I scrimped and scraped to get everything they wanted.’
      • ‘In reality it is a country sharply divided between a privileged segment of society and millions of workers and middle class people scraping ever harder to make a living.’
      • ‘Lamb prices had been off, so Oren was scraping hard to make his feed payments.’
    3. 3.3[no object]Manage to live with difficulty.
      ‘she has to scrape by on Social Security’
      • ‘For six months, her family scraped by on her husband's income, she says, with no benefits for her injuries.’
      • ‘He was barely making enough to scrape by already, living with friends, buying insulin and test strips and such without script insurance, making his payments to the credit counseling place.’
      • ‘There she would observe working-class women, scraping by to clothe their brood.’
      • ‘Shamelessly exploited by his respective bosses, he still only just scrapes by despite the long hours he works.’
      • ‘I was just scraping along and doing the credit card thing again.’
      • ‘Under the one parent family payment, people are still scraping by financially.’
      • ‘‘We're always clawing and scraping by,’ Forrest said of the centre's finances.’
      • ‘These are old-timers that came up through the Depression, scraping by and living the hard way.’
      • ‘And it got to the point where I was working two jobs at a time and we were still just barely scraping by.’
      • ‘We lived in a place in south Halifax with no water or heat during the winter and were really just scraping by.’
      • ‘The fundraising manager said: ‘It's damned hard work and we only just manage to scrape by.’’
      • ‘For the average Equatoguinean, scraping by on roughly $2 a day, $3,000 is an unimaginable fortune.’
      • ‘The family lived in public housing and scraped by on public assistance.’
      • ‘With the family already scraping by on his income as manager of the sporting goods emporium, his brother's arrival makes things tighter in every way.’
      • ‘Awili manages to scrape by with donated lentils, rice, potatoes, milk and sometimes chicken, but she can't afford the healthy food a doctor recommended for her and her newborn.’
      • ‘Although a skilled sailmaker, he was now scraping by working in a park and living in a caravan.’
      • ‘He managed to scrape by, staying at shelters or with friends and getting after-school work at restaurants.’
      • ‘Now, they are divided into wealthy, successful musicians on the one hand and those scraping by with day jobs on the other.’
      • ‘Speaking of money, I've put together a tentative monthly budget because I'm sick of always scraping by from paycheck to paycheck.’
      • ‘She grew up poor and has spent most of her adult life scraping by on a disability pension.’
      manage, cope, survive, muddle along, muddle through, scrape along, make ends meet, get along, get by, make do, manage to live with difficulty, barely manage to live, scarcely manage to live, barely have enough to live on, scarcely have enough to live on, keep the wolf from the door, keep one's head above water, scrimp, scrape a living
      make out
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    4. 3.4[no object, with adverbial]Barely manage to succeed in a particular undertaking.
      ‘Bowden scraped in with 180 votes at the last election’
      ‘he scraped through the entrance exam’
      • ‘The bill only scraped by due to a provision of the voting regulations which interprets an abstention as a vote in favour.’
      • ‘The Higher Education Bill scraped through the Commons at second reading by just five votes in January.’
      • ‘When he was first elected to the Dail in 1982 he just scraped in by 111 votes.’
      • ‘New Labour scraped home the same day in the Hartlepool by-election.’
      • ‘The rest of us scraped through the exam and afterwards forgot everything we had learned.’
      • ‘When that discussion did happen, the proposal to twin with Omaha only scraped through when put to a vote.’
      • ‘She shirked her schoolwork, preferred to spend her time drawing, but aced every test and so managed to scrape by with C's.’
      • ‘I have enough marks though to at least scrape through with a pass for this subject.’
      • ‘‘I just scraped in and hopefully that will be enough to gain selection,’ said O'Sullivan.’
      • ‘He arrived in Athens ranked sixth in the world, but only just scraped into the semi-finals after qualifying in 16th place.’
      • ‘Tam is the one who got lots of Highers; I scraped into university.’
      • ‘After almost four years wait and a £1m video George Michael has just scraped in at number seven in this week's chart.’
      • ‘However, the officials are claiming that the existing storage is sufficient to scrape through during summer.’
      • ‘Claims like those should make anyone suspicious, even those who have barely scraped through high school biology.’
      • ‘In the second game played on Sunday Moone scraped through to the next round of the cup by the skin of their teeth.’
      • ‘Fortunately they still managed to scrape through Olympic qualification after finishing seventh at last year's World Champs.’
      • ‘The band barely scraped into the Sophos list at number nine.’
      • ‘Germany, Italy and Belgium scraped in at the bottom.’
      • ‘I probably managed to scrape by with a D or something.’
      • ‘Fifteen points down with 10 minutes to go, a grandstand finish saw the Lakers scrape through by five points.’
      just pass, pass and no more, pass by a narrow margin, just succeed in, narrowly achieve
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  • 4[with object] Copy (data) from a website using a computer program.

    ‘all search engines scrape content from sites without permission and display it on their own sites’
    • ‘A number of not just the Realtor sites, but the actual broker sites, are being scraped.’
    • ‘I use askSam to scrape and save documents, Web pages, and interesting material.’
    • ‘It looks like the site scrapes blogs and distills them in Blogcast.’
    • ‘This blog should be scraped by Google News because it is worthy.’
    • ‘To add weblogs into the system, each probably started with small list of weblogs to seed the system, picking up other weblogs as each was scraped.’
    • ‘The site looks nice, probably scraped from a legitimate site.’
    • ‘It may simply be that others have taken the photos and copied them on free sites - which the search engine scraped.’
    • ‘I think it's scraping LinkedIn and Google for results.’
    • ‘Hosting feeds costs money, scraping feeds takes time, and maintaining a feed can take some time as well.’


  • 1An act or sound of scraping.

    ‘he heard the scrape of his mother's key in the lock’
    • ‘I heard the scrape of a dry flint and another man, very regal-looking, materialized.’
    • ‘As if the sound were a signal, the stone lid began to ease back with the grinding scrape of stone on stone.’
    • ‘In places, the boat gets so close to the rocky cliffs that we expect to hear an agonizing scrape.’
    • ‘While slamming doors and sandpaper scrapes produce sounds, they generally are not perceived as musical because they lack a continuous fundamental tone.’
    • ‘I ran for the door and opened it just as I heard the scrape of a metal key against the inside of a lock.’
    • ‘The second movement begins with percussion sounds (cymbal scrapes and maracas).’
    • ‘But as I began mentally working out the plot of my next unpublished novel, I heard the unmistakable scrape of skis approaching from behind.’
    • ‘Flavia heard the scrape of footsteps, quick and light, on the loose rocks of the road.’
    • ‘I heard the faint scrape of a boot below me; I jumped to the ground.’
    • ‘Passing under the breezeways, there was no sound but the scrape of plastic and concrete, twine and dry skin.’
    • ‘There, in that corner room, I heard little more than the scrape of the big pecan tree on the roof.’
    • ‘After about twenty seconds, he heard the subtle scrape of metal as the door was unlocked.’
    • ‘He heard a scrape of something against rock and looked up in dread.’
    • ‘The acoustic guitar sounds a strangled folk tune and the scrape of the strings is sourced and dragged through the track.’
    • ‘He slammed the door shut and they heard the scrape of a key in the lock.’
    • ‘As he carried the body to the wagon, he could hear the scrape of the shovel on the soil.’
    • ‘Instead, he heard the scrape of a feed bag being dragged across the floor.’
    • ‘He could hear the scrape of their shoes on the asphalt as they stood, waiting.’
    • ‘Lore could hear the scrape of his fingernail against his tooth, and her skin crawled.’
    • ‘The whole mess was eerily silent, the only sound the scrape of spoons.’
    grate, grating, creak, creaking, grind, grinding, jar, jarring, rasp, rasping, scratch, scratching, rub, rubbing, squeak, squeaking, screech, screeching
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    1. 1.1An injury or mark caused by scraping.
      ‘there was a long, shallow scrape on his shin’
      • ‘The injuries are more than scrapes and bruises.’
      • ‘The victim received injuries consisting of scrapes and bruises, however, she was able to fend off her attacker.’
      • ‘We found you at the entrance of the base with a broken leg and a broken ribcage not to mention several deep gashes and scrapes.’
      • ‘Several weeks later, a woman is rushed into the emergency room with multiple bruises, scrapes, and abrasions.’
      • ‘The man sustained minor injuries such as cuts and scrapes.’
      • ‘Set against that, it's like armor plate, and protects the bow against dings and scrapes.’
      • ‘Helmets can mean the difference between a few cuts and scrapes and a serious head injury in two-wheeler accidents.’
      • ‘I've taken my own licks and scrapes, but none as bad as that wound there on your shoulder.’
      • ‘Chris was bent down beside Cam cleaning up a scrape on his knee.’
      • ‘He checked her for injuries but found only a slight scrape on her shoulder and a larger gash across her cheek.’
      • ‘The base of the HSF with its copper insert is poorly machined with a lot of marks and scrapes, though it is at least flat.’
      • ‘Unless they have been very well taken care of, used boots will always have some scrapes and nicks, but these in no way affect the utility of the boots.’
      • ‘Other than the cut on her hand and a scrape on her shin from the tree, she was fine.’
      • ‘Her scrapes were starting to sting, and they had bits of dirt and gravel sticking to them.’
      • ‘Just like a traditional truck bed liner, a spray on liner will protect trucks from a wide variety of scrapes, scratches, and other debris marks.’
      • ‘His whole body covered in scrapes and cuts, with a particular big gash in his right leg that seemed to go to the bone.’
      • ‘The difficulty in manoeuvring the wheelchair through the narrow house shows in the scrapes and marks on the walls.’
      • ‘She had earlier begun to notice relatively minor injuries on his body, but these Joe explained away as scrapes and bumps caused during play.’
      • ‘There was almost no sign of the facial scrapes and bruises Bush acquired in a weekend bicycle mishap.’
      • ‘Wetsuits on - for protection against scrapes and knocks rather than the weather - we hauled our boards and then our sails across the beach to the water's edge.’
      • ‘They did not see much of any damage, just a few nicks and scrapes on those shuttle tiles.’
      • ‘Obviously, the knee pads prevent injury or scrapes to the knees, and the elbow pads prevent injury or scrapes to the elbows.’
      graze, scratch, abrasion, cut, laceration, wound
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2A place where soil has been scraped away, especially a shallow hollow formed in the ground by a bird during a courtship display or for nesting.
      ‘ringed plovers incubate eggs in shallow scrapes’
      • ‘The nest is either a simple scrape lined with a few twigs and feathers or a large stick nest in a tree.’
      • ‘New Zealand quail nests were shallow scrapes in the ground with grass lining.’
      • ‘Both sexes help to make a shallow scrape in soil or sand, which they line with vegetation and other debris.’
      • ‘Spheniscus species generally use unlined nests in burrows, crevices, caves, or surface scrapes.’
      • ‘When nesting on a rock ledge, the fulmars do not build a nest, but when they nest on a bank or slope, they make a shallow scrape, occasionally lined with small stones.’
      • ‘Both sexes start scrapes on mounds or tussocks near the water, and the female picks one.’
      • ‘After losing the first egg, oystercatchers often move to a new nest scrape to lay the remaining eggs of the clutch.’
      • ‘During the short hours of darkness the parents remain with small chicks making a scrape to brood them.’
      • ‘While the female builds the nest, a shallow scrape lined with grass and leaves, the male stands guard.’
      • ‘The male emu will build its nest in a scrape in the ground in the shape of a circle, lined with grass and other vegetation.’
    3. 1.3British [in singular]A thinly applied layer of butter or margarine on bread.
      ‘when making sandwiches, use only the thinnest scrape of fat’
    4. 1.4archaic An obsequious bow in which one foot is drawn backwards along the ground.
  • 2Medicine
    informal A procedure of dilatation of the cervix and curettage of the uterus.

  • 3informal An embarrassing or difficult predicament caused by one's own unwise behaviour.

    ‘he'd been in worse scrapes than this before now’
    • ‘He was a brash, very arrogant, sort of combative personality, which got him into a lot of scrapes on the court.’
    • ‘Each week, members of the public get the chance to lure their loved ones into wittily original set-ups, scrapes and moral dilemmas.’
    • ‘It took him seven years to untangle that dream but a man who could sing like Uncle Jim was bound to get in scrapes now and then: he expected it and we expected it.’
    • ‘Other adventurers, thousands of them, doubtless got into similar scrapes and difficulties, but they ended their days on a dueller's sword or died in a debtors' prison.’
    • ‘Haven't you been in worse scrapes with Gina?’
    • ‘He has preached of walking away from scrapes and avoiding trouble because players must behave for the sake of the game.’
    • ‘During that time, he endured a series of scrapes, some deeply embarrassing, before the fall-out from an affair finally cost him the arts brief.’
    • ‘Since I'm on the football team and I had some scrapes with those guys, a lot of people want to blame me.’
    • ‘Thus small-time con man Moss gets mixed up with real villains and, predictably, blackly comic scrapes ensue.’
    • ‘This year she's gotten me out of more scrapes than usual, and bought us our own home-use stomach pump, so I needed to be extra expressive.’
    • ‘For Mr Morgan, it may provide the toughest test yet of his durability as Mirror editor following a series of difficult scrapes.’
    • ‘He was one of the great characters, capable of getting himself into the most awful scrapes and then extracting himself from the mire by using his agile brain and wit.’
    • ‘Some years ago, before she got busy getting people out of scrapes, Prudie went as a reporter to a nudists' event in Indiana.’
    • ‘He has a fortunate knack of emerging victorious from difficult scrapes.’
    • ‘The siblings always get into some kind of scrape or moral dilemma, and there are a lot of siblings to choose from.’
    predicament, plight, tight corner, tight spot, ticklish situation, tricky situation, problem, quandary, dilemma, crisis, mess, muddle
    View synonyms


  • scrape acquaintance with

    • dated Contrive to get to know.

      ‘I'd like you to stay at the hotel and try to scrape acquaintance with her’
      • ‘’‘And then they pretend to scrape acquaintance with us again,’ said the lady.’
  • scrape the barrel (or the bottom of the barrel)

    • informal Be reduced to using things or people of the poorest quality because there is nothing else available.

      ‘the party was scraping the barrel for competent politicians’
      • ‘They are scraping the barrel when they resort to the mindless attack made in the newspapers.’
      • ‘People have to be scraping the barrel when they have to break into a charity shop and its very sad.’
      • ‘So far we've relived all the favored decades of the 20th century and are now scraping the bottom of the barrel - we have finally made it to the 80s.’
      • ‘You can tell I'm really scraping the barrel when I post stuff like this.’
      • ‘This is really scraping the bottom of the barrel and amounts to little more than extortion.’
      • ‘The city doesn't have to scrape the barrel and show us up so much that we are reduced to selling the civic number plates.’
      • ‘She really must have been scraping the barrel for a subject this week, it was an insult to the average reader's intelligence.’
      • ‘It seems the Government is scraping the bottom of the barrel to find citizens suitable to receive national awards.’
      • ‘The senseless killing of several citizens in a cruel heartless manner is indicative of our little country scraping the bottom of the barrel of human kindness.’
      • ‘That doesn't disguise the reality that they are scraping the barrel in a desperate attempt to save a dying industry.’


Old English scrapian ‘scratch with the fingernails’, of Germanic origin, reinforced in Middle English by Old Norse skrapa or Middle Dutch schrapen to scratch.