Definition of scratch in English:



  • 1with object Score or mark the surface of (something) with a sharp or pointed object.

    ‘the car's paintwork was battered and scratched’
    no object ‘he scratched at a stain on his jacket’
    • ‘In May vandals went on the rampage trashing cars in a spate of incidents on the estates, including smashing windows, slashing sunroofs, tyres and scratching paintwork.’
    • ‘The outside edges on my ring come to pretty sharp 90 degree angle and I've scratched a few windows including a car windshield with it.’
    • ‘When you rent DVDs, how on earth do you manage to scratch them up so badly?’
    • ‘Place a canvas drop cloth over the floor of the tub or shower to protect the surface from the sand-like grout that can scratch it.’
    • ‘How to clean leather with serious grease or oil stains without scratching the fabric is simple.’
    • ‘Let only the flat edge of the blade touch the surface to prevent scratching it.’
    • ‘He scratched a match across the surface of the table and lit his pipe.’
    • ‘Use a narrow wooden spatula or similar tool that won't scratch the wok's cooking surface.’
    • ‘Blow or tip these shavings from your material at regular intervals: never use a brush as this could badly scratch your surface.’
    • ‘As you can see in the picture below, a deliberate attempt to damage the mousing surface by scratching it with a key caused very little damage.’
    • ‘I'm not sure if it's the shipping, but our base was scratched pretty badly.’
    • ‘Don't try to remove it all by scraping or you will scratch the surfaces.’
    • ‘He still had on some armor that covered his rather muscular physique, but it was scratched and dented pretty badly.’
    • ‘I check whether I'm still able to judge speed and distance accurately by making sure I can get my car key in the door lock without breaking it or scratching the paintwork.’
    • ‘Never use abrasives on either anodized or painted surfaces as they will scratch it.’
    • ‘On my return I found that my vehicle was scratched with what seems to be a very sharp instrument - perhaps a nail - from the front fender to the back tail gate.’
    • ‘Early treatises advise rubbing the surface with garlic, but more usually the panel was scratched slightly to provide some tooth to which the paint can adhere.’
    • ‘An unexpected sharp vibration can cause the head to crash onto the surface of the disk, gouging it like a phonograph needle can scratch a record.’
    • ‘Cases hitting the ground will inevitably pick up grit that can scratch the inside of the die and leave a mark on every case loaded.’
    • ‘When the businessman returned to his car, however, he found that one of the locals had taken a nail to it, badly scratching the paint.’
    score, abrade, scrape, roughen, scuff, scuff up, lacerate, groove, gash, engrave, incise, gouge
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Make a long, narrow superficial wound in the skin of.
      ‘her arms were scratched by the thorns’
      ‘I scratched myself on the tree’
      • ‘The 44-year-old housekeeper alleged Campbell punched and scratched her face so badly she went to hospital.’
      • ‘She showed no sign of caring that her slim boyish legs, encased in her elder brothers khaki shorts, were being scratched by the thorns of the roses that she skedaddled past.’
      • ‘A branch scratched him on the arm, ripping lightly into his flesh and a skimpy drop of blood came out.’
      • ‘Other weeds, including sand bur and thistle, can also scratch and irritate your skin.’
      • ‘Their hair was messy, their clothes were ripped, their skin was dirty and scratched, and their eyes were dulled by the expression of misery.’
      • ‘She sat down and looked to her arms, which had been bruised and scratched by the brush.’
      • ‘I am always stubbing my toe, smashing my arms against walls, tripping over, scratching myself.’
      • ‘She told me that, without any warning, the cat had jumped on her, scratched her, and bitten her in the right arm.’
      • ‘The black-haired boy looked as if he had died and come back to life - his lips were dry and cut, he had a black eye, and his cheek was scratched badly.’
      • ‘Wambach's skin had been scratched and bruised in several places.’
      • ‘The branches were scratching the two men's arms as they went through the woods, one dragging the other.’
      • ‘His face, arms and legs were badly scratched and his clothes were torn.’
      • ‘His face was scratched and his robe was stained with crimson.’
      • ‘I punched and kicked and even resulted in petty hair pulling while she wildly thrashed her arms trying to scratch me.’
      • ‘He developed a facial infection after being scratched by a rose thorn.’
      • ‘He dropped one hand and the one on her chin was drawn away with the nails toward her skin, so he scratched her slightly.’
      • ‘Curious, she looked at her arms, they too were scratched and bruised, but only slightly.’
      • ‘In a minor scuffle with a thief, the colleague is wounded when a fellow passenger scratches him accidentally.’
      • ‘If your child cuts or scratches his or her skin, be sure to use soap and water to clean the area because open wounds are more susceptible to warts and other infections.’
      • ‘He has to wear tights on his legs and long sleeves on his arms on a hot Missouri day so he doesn't scratch himself.’
      graze, scrape, abrade, rasp, skin, rub raw, cut, lacerate, bark, chafe, strip, flay, wound
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Rub (a part of one's body) with one's fingernails to relieve itching.
      ‘Jessica lifted her sunglasses and scratched her nose’
      • ‘Mark scratched the back of his head, a sure sign he was trying to come up with something to say.’
      • ‘He could not walk, talk, lift his arms, feed himself or scratch himself.’
      • ‘"Yeah, " Brandon nodded, absently scratching his ear.’
      • ‘I'm just scratching your back to make you feel more comfortable, " I explained.’
      • ‘Yawning, the teenage girl reached to scratch her neck, and felt the marks left there on her vein.’
      • ‘My arms were around her waist, so I scratched her lower back softly.’
      • ‘He is scratching his chin as he considers the question.’
      • ‘‘Uh, yea,’ Mark said scratching the back of his neck and walking closer to me.’
      • ‘She relaxed a bit, and lightly scratched her chin.’
      • ‘‘All done,’ he said happily, scratching his nose and laving a grease stain on the tip of it.’
      • ‘He just nodded and looked out the window while scratching his lower/inner arm.’
      • ‘He unfolded his arms, and the landlord flinched in terror, but the hradani merely scratched his chin thoughtfully.’
      • ‘Huck itches all over and tries not to scratch himself so he doesn't make any noise.’
      • ‘‘For the Love of Any Patron Saint that's in the area and available,’ said I, taking my hat off my head and scratching my forehead.’
      • ‘But even though I've stopped scratching it, it still hasn't healed.’
      • ‘Then it started on my face and some other parts of my body which you cannot scratch in public.’
      • ‘‘No,’ said I scratching my shoulder and looking over at Poppy, my most excellent beagle, who was trying to catch a bumble bee.’
      • ‘The more you thought about not scratching it, the worse it itched.’
      • ‘As he stood scratching his belly, dragging long sharp nails through the thin fur there, he decided that a simple favor was needed.’
      • ‘I was itchy, but as soon as I would scratch my arms they would hurt like I had bruised them.’
      rub, claw, claw at, scrape, tear at
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3with object and adverbial Make (a mark or hole) by scoring a surface with a sharp or pointed object.
      ‘I found two names scratched on one of the windowpanes’
      • ‘Returning on his own, he discovers a cellar scratched from the earth and covered with corrugated iron.’
      • ‘Each seal has a series of lines of varying orientations scratched into its inside surface.’
      • ‘Jamali also paints on cork, mixing pigments and scratching imagery onto the surface with sticks and his fingernails.’
      • ‘Spread the fertilizer evenly around the plants and scratch it into the soil surface.’
      • ‘She ran her hand against the steel plated walls and crouched down to see writings that had been scratched into the metal, probably with a knife.’
      • ‘Engraving is done by scratching a drawing with a sharp tool on a metal sheet and then making a print from the scratched lines.’
      • ‘After being air-dried, an awl or pointed stick could be used to scratch a simple design into the surface.’
      • ‘Most often, the entire presentation surface of a redware object was covered with white slip, and a design was then scratched into the surface.’
      • ‘To determine whether the liposomes spread onto the DPPA surface as a monolayer or bilayer, a defect was scratched into the lipid surface.’
      • ‘Using a sharp instrument, Verster then draws and scratches patterns and images into this surface, revealing the strata of yellow beneath.’
      • ‘He scratched his name into the silica surface in a popular act of vandalism.’
      • ‘A while ago, while in Northern Ireland, I saw someone had scratched the name INLA into the wood of a door in a stall.’
      • ‘Pictures of hunters were painted or scratched on cave walls all over the world.’
      • ‘A large red heart with the figure of a female nude scratched on the surface, was a favourite of his fiancée and was painted shortly after he met her.’
    4. 1.4 Write (something) hurriedly or awkwardly.
      • ‘James watched as the good doctor scratched out a quick report on some looseleaf.’
      • ‘Then, driven by whatever strange spirit possesses them, they begin monitoring speed, distance and trajectory, scratching their findings into notebooks.’
      • ‘Andrew nodded, tore a page out of the sketch book in his pocket and scratched out his number with a stumpy pencil hooked in the books ring binder.’
      • ‘He went on marking things down on his clipboard, violently scratching a multitude of checks and notations onto the paper.’
      • ‘Lissie looked down at the poem she'd been scratching down.’
      • ‘He held out the paper again, so I hurriedly scratched my name on his dotted line.’
      • ‘He scratched out his first poem while taking a break from failing a thermodynamics exam, on which he receive a nine out of a possible one hundred.’
      • ‘Yes, a dark-haired, humanly-dressed faerie was dragging the pen back and forth, scratching out words onto the paper.’
      • ‘They love to crunch numbers and scratch out mock drafts on legal pads at work.’
      • ‘Returning when she needed to the ink well, she scratched out her scribbling in a fine script that even the most cultured hand would envy.’
      • ‘Then the woman scratched out a note and placed it beneath the glass of water at his bedside.’
      • ‘Then one of us scratched out some notes, the other one picked it up and ran with it a few more paces and, in the fullness of time, an essay emerged.’
      • ‘She scratched out a note with a slightly shaky hand, folded it, and attached it to the leather straps tied to the skytyr's foot.’
      • ‘I grabbed a pen and scratched down ‘goodbye’ on a napkin.’
      • ‘Every time I took a 20-minute break from the books, I scratched out a few lines of code.’
      • ‘The entire bus ride, I scratched out the most scathing letter.’
      • ‘Hawksblade chuckled as he read the next line scratched out in ink.’
      • ‘In fury Beethoven scratched out the dedication at the betrayal of his ideals.’
      • ‘Near the end of the book with its empty gaping pages and neat writing was a verse scratched out with red pen.’
      • ‘All it took was a few plays scratched out on Bowden's legal pad.’
    5. 1.5with object and adverbial Remove (something) from something else by pulling a sharp implement over it.
      ‘he scratched away the plaster’
      • ‘No way did I want my eyes scratched out by those freshly manicured nails.’
      • ‘The lines have been scratched out using a needle, on a canvas smeared with oil colours.’
      • ‘Cleanup crews watched in horror as otters scratched out their own eyes to rid them of oil.’
    6. 1.6no object Make a rasping or grating noise by scraping something over a hard surface.
      ‘the dog scratched to be let in’
      • ‘Activists did not consider it Scottish enough and chose a new logo featuring a lion apparently scratching at a red door.’
      • ‘Your cat scratches at the door after being fed.’
      • ‘If the cat is scratching at the door and meowing to be let out, just ignore him.’
      • ‘One extremely large creature traveled up inside the wall, and took up residence directly over our bed, scratching and keeping us awake each night.’
      • ‘A dog howled at the door and then started scratching furiously at the door, as a screeching grew louder.’
      • ‘There was a sound of claws scratching against stone, then a heavy thud.’
      • ‘I wolfed it, famished, while cats scratched at gaps in the floorboards and invisible mice.’
      • ‘On the deck below Maria heard the poor dog scratching at the wooden planks anxiously.’
      • ‘It really is quite remarkable the way in which those cute little white paws can convey such anger and indignation when they are scratching relentlessly on one's bedroom door.’
      • ‘If the fact that their kitten was scratching and meowing to come into my place is anything to go by, it's not pretty.’
      • ‘Yes, something was behind the vent, scratching to get out.’
      • ‘Its huge feet and long legs kept up with her easily, its clawed hands were stretched out ready to grab her, scratching against the walls, making a spine shilling noise.’
      • ‘She scratches at the wall but it doesn't sound the same.’
      • ‘While assassins approached the tent, Pompey began barking and scratching to warn his master, finally jumping on William's face to wake him.’
      • ‘It seemed to have been a bird scratching at her window.’
      • ‘His fingernails scraped, scratched at the doorknob with urgency.’
      • ‘Down here is all darkness, the only sound the slur of rain in the dirt, water rats scratching inside the walls.’
      • ‘The dog scratched and padded around the place and pushed his dish across the kitchen floor tiles.’
      • ‘We heard scratching behind the kitchen units three nights ago.’
      • ‘The dogs, now deprived of their warm and huddled sleep at the foot of Matty's bed, spent the nights scratching and sniffing at the back door, whining to be let in.’
    7. 1.7no object (of a bird or mammal, especially a chicken) rake the ground with the beak or claws in search of food.
      ‘the hens cannot do anything that comes naturally to them, such as scratch around’
      • ‘Chickens scratched in the company of a stately, gruff-voiced, very respectable pig, rooting under a walnut tree.’
      • ‘People are bargaining, arguing, gossiping; dogs are bickering, chickens scratching in the dirt.’
      • ‘She lowered her head and scratched in the dirt with her horn.’
      • ‘These birds didn't even scratch the ground for food, practicing normal foraging behavior.’
      • ‘She could here the birds scratching at the ground outside her tent, the leaves on on the tree by the door blowing in the brisk wind.’
      • ‘I looked at a few hens scratching in the grit at the hut's door.’
      • ‘By the halfway mark of our stay, I took to wandering down to the stables to count the remaining ducks scratching around in the straw and ensure there was no danger of a supply crisis before we left.’
      • ‘Throwing scratch grain around will get the hens scratching, which will fluff up the bedding and keep it well mixed.’
      • ‘When it hatched, it grew up like other chickens, picking and scratching for food.’
      • ‘Several chickens scratched about outside what appeared to be a chicken coop.’
      • ‘Hens enjoy scratching, preening and dustbathing and the deep straw covered floor encourages these social activities.’
      • ‘The only things living were a sow, her piglets, and some hens scratching in the dirt.’
      • ‘Typically feeding on the ground, they uncover food by scratching with their feet or digging with their bills.’
      • ‘As they talked, one of his chickens scratched up a coin that the young Swede recognised (so he says) as bearing the head of the Emperor Augustus.’
      • ‘The man still thinks in terms of animal manure and chickens scratching in the yard.’
      • ‘In the chiaroscuro of this place of offering, figured with the wax and soot of burned candles, a chicken scratches near a sacrificial stone.’
      • ‘They can scratch in the ground and eat seeds and bugs as well as their regular chicken feed.’
      • ‘You'll feel a smug warmth every time you pass a broiler chicken house and think of your own happy, healthy poultry scratching in the dust at home.’
      • ‘Ideally they would have a movable coup or ark that can be put on a patch of soil where the birds will scratch around eating every pest, as well as most weeds - and also fertilising the soil.’
    8. 1.8scratch forno object Search for (someone or something that is hard to locate or find)
      ‘he's still scratching around for a woman to share his life’
      • ‘Developers are expected to be able to dig and scratch for information.’
      • ‘Will this project encourage the creation of new and original art; or will it simply boost the local economy and leave artists scratching for the remaining crumbs?’
      • ‘Improvident tax cuts by state legislatures and faltering investment returns have left educational institutions, both public and private, scratching for every nickel and dime.’
      • ‘Look for the team to get better at scratching for runs with bunts and the hit-and-run.’
      • ‘Since it struck in the early '80s, researchers have scratched for a vaccine or a cure but in vain.’
      • ‘This sudden reduction in wealth should leave more than a few folks scratching for cash and looking to sell property.’
      • ‘The Caribbean has been scratching for its economic niche for a long time.’
      • ‘We didn't end up finding anything for him - I was scratching for suggestions, trying to get him thinking.’
      • ‘When journalists were scratching for stories, the Greens’ drug policy was all but a godsend.’
      • ‘Sometimes you have to grind out a result and we did that, we fought and scratched for it.’
      • ‘She understands she's been an attractive target for journalists scratching for the next headline.’
      • ‘I don't imagine them scratching for similes or phrasing and rephrasing until each sentence sings.’
      • ‘Even their own publicity department was scratching for things to say.’
      • ‘They're certain they're doing good work but they're scratching for funding.’
      • ‘But on a slow news day, when you're scratching around for something to fill the bulletin with, you decide to turn the shoddy release into 20 seconds of copy.’
      • ‘He is going to be in your face, pushing the norm, scratching for revenues, defying you to slap him down and shut him up.’
      • ‘You're scratching for things to do outside of the actual working part of the day.’
      search, hunt, hunt around, cast about, cast around, cast round, rummage, rummage around, forage, forage about, poke about, poke around, scrabble, grub about, grub around, root, root around, scavenge, fish about, fish around, rake around, feel around, grope, grope around, nose about, nose around, nose round, ferret, ferret about, ferret around
      View synonyms
    9. 1.9 Accomplish (something) with great effort or difficulty.
      ‘Tabitha wondered how long the woman had been scratching a living on the waterways’
      • ‘We think that our people were made for better things than scratching a living from tourism.’
      • ‘Now it's six years later and he is scratching a living predicting sports results.’
      • ‘Gradually the West Mayo team got a foothold and they scratched out three points before the break to give themselves a chance.’
      • ‘The general impression one gets is that Morse accepts the persistent stereotype of the solitary miner scratching out a meager existence largely on his own.’
      • ‘Fifty per cent of Madagascar's population earn less than one US dollar per year, scratching a living from the parched red earth or feeding themselves by fishing.’
      • ‘Oldham continue to scratch out wins - can they keep it going all season or will their luck change?’
      • ‘The Redskins have been in the play-offs just once since Gibbs left and have scratched out one winning season since 1997.’
      • ‘Keep the Twins close and hope their teammates scratch out enough runs to win.’
      • ‘Residents scratch out a living amid blocks of abandoned, boarded up, burned-out row houses and vacant warehouses.’
      • ‘He may not have felt so desperate if poverty hadn't forced him into exile: illegal, paralysed, scratching a living for the smallest slice of pie.’
      • ‘Many cities were said to be turning into ghost towns, with some five to seven million people living precariously on the breadline, scratching out an existence from one day to the next.’
      • ‘The Mariners and the Tigers scratch out their runs with bunts, strings of hits and a willingness to move the runners.’
      • ‘Hendley held out hope the rest of the night that the Cubs might scratch out a run, but saw those hopes diminish rapidly as Koufax got stronger and stronger.’
      • ‘The rare few that still survived clung on at the edge of society, scratching a living from what little they could find in their woodland domains.’
      • ‘Only if you were born and brought up unbeknown to the world in the darkness of deepest Dalby Forest, scratching a living from the land would you be truly a non-person.’
      • ‘I know they've scratched out two wins in a row, but we feel confident in ourselves.’
      • ‘Failing to scratch out a run against a starter such as Kip Wells is much different than what happened Sunday.’
      • ‘From nowhere, she started scratching out a reasonable living.’
      • ‘The band still had to deal with the problem of coming off the payroll and switching from playing large venues to rolling round the club circuit, scratching a living.’
      • ‘As late as the 1850s, people scratched out a bare existence by soaking up surface oil from springs around Oil Creek in Pennsylvania.’
      scrape, scratch, scrimp
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    10. 1.10scratch alongno object Make a living with difficulty.
      ‘many architects now scratch along doing loft conversions’
      • ‘He was working ‘for those toiling and unemployed millions who do not get even a square meal a day and have to scratch along with a piece of stale roti and a pinch of salt.’’
      • ‘A few of them earn quite well, but most scratch along putting in long hours and earning no more than average wages.’
  • 2with object Cancel or strike out (writing) with a pen or pencil.

    ‘the name of Dr McNab was scratched out and that of Dr Dunstaple substituted’
    • ‘She - I assumed it was a she - had scratched out the original name and put her own name in its place.’
    • ‘Someone, however, scratched out ‘Briefing Room’ with a large black marker.’
    • ‘Forthworth took a pen out of his pocket, and scratched out the part about sustaining life.’
    • ‘I furiously scratched out what I had just written in the notebook, and replaced it with more than just a few malicious thoughts.’
    • ‘She scratched out that box and ticked the third one as the more accurate.’
    • ‘It is an explanation consistent with the typing of his name on the deed only to be scratched out and Adam's name written in.’
    • ‘Her name had been scratched out and all the evidence of her reign was deposited in one location.’
    • ‘The rest I put back into their boxes, scratched out my address and replaced it with theirs, and sent them off.’
    • ‘I scoffed as Cale jotted down one line beneath the twenty scratched out ones.’
    • ‘The postcard itself has a postmark from 1958 and has some writing on it which is still visible, even though violently scratched out.’
    • ‘Possessed only of his passport, from which he scratched out his home address, Kahn remained unidentified for several days in the city morgue.’
    • ‘It's full of marks and words that are scratched out here and there.’
    • ‘This really was not a document that could be just quickly scratched out and rewritten.’
    • ‘He scratched out the notes on the paper he had made and began to write new ones.’
    • ‘It had over a dozen different words written on it and all were scratched out except for the last.’
    • ‘This guy then scratched out his name on the script and put down his girlfriend's name.’
    • ‘Nerissa shrugged in return as she scratched out whatever it had been that she'd been drawing.’
    • ‘Later, when they checked his wallet, they found that he had scratched out his address in his passport and any other details that would have helped them contact his family.’
    • ‘Underneath, ineptly scratched out, three telltale words are still discernible: ‘Made in Taiwan’.’
    • ‘I borrowed the nametag keeper's pen and scratched out as much of the name on the tag as I could, attempting to replace it with my actual, real name.’
    cross out, strike out, score out, delete, erase, remove, strike off, eliminate, cancel, expunge, obliterate
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Withdraw (a competitor) from a competition.
      ‘Jolie's Halo was scratched from a minor stakes race at Monmouth Park’
      • ‘Alabama Stakes winner Island Fashion was one of five fillies scratched from the race.’
      • ‘Garcia was scratched from Sunday's lineup due to the injuries he sustained on his left hand, but will be available later in the series.’
      • ‘Two of the original four West Virginia-breds were scratched from the event.’
      • ‘Injuries have played a part - he was scratched from a start earlier this week with a sore right shoulder.’
      • ‘She was scratched out of Friday's Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill in favor of Saturday's race.’
      • ‘Wells suffered a strained left groin muscle during a May 23 start at Toronto and was scratched from his next outing.’
      • ‘The German was branded a cheat and scratched from that year's drivers' championship for unsportsmanlike conduct.’
      • ‘He was scratched from the lineup yesterday and was walking stiffly as the result of having his neck and back taped up.’
      • ‘Speedy Punta, a six-year-old gelding by Punta Arenas, was tested on course and scratched from his intended race.’
      • ‘Failure to play before the deadline may result in both players being scratched from the competition without notice.’
      • ‘McKee thought he would play in the next game, but Ruff scratched him again.’
      • ‘May was able to pitch but was scratched because of a renewed muscle tweak.’
      • ‘Last year French was banned from racing for two years and scratched from Olympic competition for life.’
      • ‘The match was abandoned, Palmeiras-B was scratched from the tournament by IFA and the title went to the city giant.’
      • ‘Jeter was the starter in last year's All-Star Game at Turner Field, but only because Rodriguez had to be scratched from the game due to injury.’
      • ‘The committee have decided that players who have not played the games by that date will be automatically scratched from the competition.’
      • ‘Shine Again is a half sister to four-year-old Shiny Band, who was scratched from the First Flight.’
      • ‘Subsequent bulletins were upbeat but a muscle problem would not dissipate and, a further ten days later, Yeats was scratched from the Derby.’
      • ‘The club can afford to be careful with RHP Jason Schmidt, who was scratched from his start Sunday because of elbow tendinitis.’
      • ‘Some will be scratched; others will play through the pain.’
      withdraw, pull out, pull out of, back out, back out of, bow out, bow out of, stand down, give up, leave, quit
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2no object (of a competitor) withdraw from a competition.
      ‘due to a knee injury she was forced to scratch from the race’
      • ‘He scratched too from an exhibition match after the ladies final of the US Open.’
      • ‘Only seven older fillies and mares contested the Eatontown after six entrants scratched from the race, run over a soft turf course.’
      • ‘Only four of the original 15 entrants scratched out of the race, which was contested over a muddy track.’
      • ‘Both silver medalists at the Athens Olympics have had to scratch from their event.’
      • ‘He advanced to the semi-finals in the former and to the finals in the latter, then scratched from both events in order to focus on other upcoming swims.’
    3. 2.3 Cancel or abandon (an undertaking or project)
      ‘banks seem prepared to scratch stabilization charges’
      • ‘Oh wait scratch that I do plan ahead.’
      • ‘Wednesday's launch was scratched because of a reading of low current from a battery system on the rocket's second stage.’
      • ‘Actually, scratch that, it sounds too much like we live in a lost and found shoebox.’
      • ‘York RI will also play a fixture originally scratched because of poor weather when they travel to Northallerton in Yorkshire Three.’
      call off, abandon, scrap, drop
      View synonyms
  • 3no object Play a record using the scratch technique.

    ‘he raps and scratches simultaneously to dazzling effect’
    See scratch (sense 2 of the noun)
    • ‘The album, which mixes rap lyrics, hip-hop beats, scratching, samples and live guitar, is now available to local people.’
    • ‘Shakespearean rhyming couplets have been adapted for rap with an on-stage DJ scratching, beatboxing and grooving right along with the performers.’
    • ‘She lets each song breathe, adding in conga solos, DJ scratching and trumpets from her tightly synched seven-member band.’
    • ‘I was also mesmerised by scratching once I got decks at 17, so I was just away in my room experimenting.’
    • ‘Much has been made of his ability to make his toggle switch sound like a DJ scratching.’
    • ‘Instead, Teeba does his talking with his turntables, scratching with great dexterity and impeccable rhythmic flair.’
    • ‘The act consists of three men dressed in tails and armed with violins bow in synch with turntable scratching.’
    • ‘In fact, there is more scratching on this CD than on any I have heard in recent years.’
    • ‘When I work with Obscure, I try to think of what can be done with scratching on this record that hasn't been done before.’
    • ‘The combo of bongo drums and some sharp scratching from DJ Kilmore was pretty impressive.’
    • ‘The group's music policy is a mixture of funk, hip hop and 80s disco blended with scratching and a touch of Latin, house and techno.’
    • ‘It was using a sample that sounded somewhere between vinyl scratching and cool drum beats.’
    • ‘Young people are invited to attend workshops and master classes in everything from graffiti art to hip-hop and urban dance to scratching and break dancing.’
    • ‘If your composition involves scratching and sampling, all to the good.’
    • ‘Beginning with DJ Olive's wavering synthetic tones, shouts, drums and scratching follow to form a sonic melee with an appreciable sense of forward motion.’
    • ‘Photography became the snapshot and photo album; newspapers became fuel for fanzines, and the vinyl record became a tool for scratching and sampling.’
    • ‘While the concept is a good one, Swift over-emphasizes breaks and scratching at the expense of vocals and harmonies.’
    • ‘I'm chopping up and scratching more - it's like I'm a new DJ again.’
    • ‘It's got scratching, it's got acoustic guitars.’
    • ‘The Tory leader had a go at scratching and mixing on record decks when he visited the Fusion Project to talk to young people.’


  • 1A mark or wound made by scratching.

    ‘the scratches on her arm were throbbing’
    • ‘These scratch marks, which resemble fine brown hairs, are always located on the upper third of the flower.’
    • ‘Her fingers brushed against the smooth glass of the jewel and she withdrew it, carefully inspecting it for chips or scratches.’
    • ‘His black shirt was torn, leaving her with a good look at his chest, filled with scratches and wounds.’
    • ‘Conjunctivitis may also occur due to allergies or from a scratch on the surface of the eye.’
    • ‘Notice the puncture marks, scratches and big gash all the way to the lower right’
    • ‘The black scuff marks and smaller scratches left last Friday night don't bother me as much - they're merely cosmetic.’
    • ‘Any scratch, dent or mark, however little, is taken note of and fixed.’
    • ‘Which card is more likely to be marked by nicks and scratches on its edges?’
    • ‘Jodi had several scratches on her arms and, Vaughn assumed, on her legs as well.’
    • ‘This speed assures elimination of swirl marks and scratches in the wood.’
    • ‘The films are not well preserved, so there are plenty of scratches and burn marks, and dirt on the prints.’
    • ‘He assured me that no-one will ever notice the small scratch mark he was able to make.’
    • ‘Scratch marks will usually go away one or two weeks after treatment.’
    • ‘If the flooring has spillage marks or deep scratches then get these attended to as quickly as possible.’
    • ‘Her arms were covered in scratches and there was one extremely deep one that was still seeping some blood.’
    • ‘We had to apply it liberally on all wounds, even minor scratches and mosquito bites.’
    • ‘With scratches and flaws marking up the picture, I'm sad to report that this picture is sub-par.’
    • ‘Traditional machines have individual grinding heads that travel in their own radius, leaving scratches or permanent marks.’
    • ‘My knees were bruised from tripping, and my arms and legs had scratches from tree branches that reached as far as they could to grab travelers.’
    • ‘Because granite is melted rock, it has uniform properties, which makes it quite hard and resistant to scratches.’
    score, mark, line, abrasion, scrape, scuff, laceration, groove, gash, gouge
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1informal in singular A slight or insignificant wound or injury.
      ‘it's nothing—just a scratch’
      • ‘In the fight with the police officer, Will, he had gotten hurt more than a slight bit while Will didn't have a scratch on him.’
      • ‘Year after year, however, millions of people enjoy themselves outdoors and return home without a scratch.’
      • ‘He got out of it without a scratch, but the car was totalled, and it was a hundred and something thousand dollars worth of car.’
      • ‘She then proceeded to spend a homeless night in strange surroundings out in the cold before being found, without a scratch on her, by her worried owners.’
      • ‘Have you ever been in an accident where you should've been hurt, even killed- and came out with only small injuries, or without a scratch?’
      • ‘My husband and daughter died instantly, but the truck driver came out without a scratch.’
      • ‘But if I'd had to, I could have driven three times that long and gotten both of us out of there without a scratch.’
      • ‘The men advance towards her and she single-handedly knocks all of them to the ground escaping without a scratch.’
      • ‘Not too many people have their motorcycles ripped out from under them at 65 mph, in heavy traffic, and escape without a scratch.’
      • ‘Fry emerged from the incident without a scratch, but the concussion of the explosion was felt some 2,000 feet away, at the starting line.’
      • ‘Thankfully this man was apprehended safely and all the officers were able to walk away without a scratch.’
      • ‘However, people in movies routinely jump through plate glass windows without receiving a single scratch.’
      • ‘A driver who escaped without a scratch when his car plunged 50 feet down a moorland ravine has told of his amazing escape.’
      • ‘In fact, he leaves the accident without a scratch on him.’
      • ‘Dozens of rounds of ammo, bombs and even cannonballs are fired at the trio, yet don't produce one scratch.’
      • ‘I spent a year in Vietnam and came home without a scratch.’
      • ‘He later crashed one of his planes at Victoria River Downs Station but walked away from it without a scratch.’
      • ‘The newspapers were filled with images of people buried in rubble, yet walking away without a scratch.’
      • ‘The plan was to find her and bring her back without a scratch.’
      • ‘She told them she was fine; that she'd only gotten a scratch.’
      graze, scrape, abrasion, cut, laceration, wound
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2in singular An act or spell of scratching oneself to relieve itching.
      ‘he gave his scalp a good scratch’
      • ‘She joked, reaching down to give the beast a scratch behind the ears.’
      • ‘I picked up the paper clip as my mind told me ‘Just one little scratch wont hurt.’’
      • ‘The women resume their conversation and the dogs, no longer interested in each other have a scratch or look for more interesting smells to divert their attention.’
      • ‘His tweed cap was removed only occasionally, and only long enough for a frustrated head scratch.’
      • ‘Truman meowed again and accepted the offered scratch behind the ears with great appreciation.’
      • ‘When you've got an itch on your back you'll do anything for a scratch and there's not much in the ocean to rub against.’
      • ‘I gave Wilma one last scratch behind the ear, and I ran downstairs.’
    3. 1.3 A rasping or grating noise produced by something rubbing against a hard surface.
      ‘the scratch of a match lighting a cigarette’
      • ‘There was a scratch at the door and the butler announced another visitor.’
      • ‘I then heard the scratch of a match against its box.’
      • ‘The only other noises were the scratches of the rats claws as they helped themselves to whatever was stored in their sanctuary.’
      • ‘A moment later we heard the unmistakable scratch of the front door closing, and the quiet start of an engine.’
      • ‘Maybe it was fifteen minutes later when the scratch at the flimsy door disturbed us.’
      • ‘She crawled back into bed when she heard a scratch at her bedroom door.’
      • ‘Embedded within Pole's framework of clicks, snaps and scratches are subtle yet absorbing layers of sound.’
      • ‘On the recording, however, I keep hearing the surreptitious scratch of a lighter.’
      • ‘First came the sound of voices outside, a familiar chitter of laughter, then the scratch at the door.’
      • ‘The last ten minutes were silent broken only by the scratch of a pencil.’
      • ‘George on the camera is a genius and Frank on sound could make a chalk scratch on a blackboard sound like music.’
      • ‘Acoustic and seismic listening device: extremely sensitive tool which can hear the slightest tap or scratch of a trapped person.’
      • ‘You need the right song to remix because there are certain ones that aren't constructed to add bleeps, scratches or a constant thumping bass line.’
      • ‘The same answer came and the scratch of a pen followed.’
      • ‘A few moments later I heard the scratch of a match against a striker, then smelled the sweet acrid aroma of marijuana.’
      • ‘It was just a scratch on the door, a muffled noise, and a little flashlight waving at the end of the hall.’
      • ‘She was still holding the book and just staring at it when a scratch sounded at the door.’
      • ‘Beeps, clicks and scratches run underneath - and alongside - strings, stand-up bass and a variety of percussion.’
      • ‘He could hear the scratch of her pencil, and the air moving past the car.’
      grate, grating, creak, creaking, grind, grinding, jar, jarring, rasp, rasping, scratching, rub, rubbing, squeak, squeaking, screech, screeching
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4mass noun A rough hiss, caused by the friction of the stylus in the groove, heard when a record is played.
      • ‘Yes, they were free from the scratches, clicks and pops that plagued records, but otherwise perfect they weren't.’
      • ‘For all that we now quest for absolute fidelity in recordings, I like the comforting scratch of an old record.’
      • ‘The scratches and surface noise of Jeck's vinyl further emphasise this notion.’
      • ‘The sound quality is fine, much as it was on the original LPs - minus the surface noise and scratches, however.’
  • 2mass noun A technique, used especially in rap music, of stopping a record by hand and moving it back and forwards to give a rhythmic scratching effect.

    as modifier ‘a scratch mix’
    • ‘He turns up the volume as far as it will go and drags his nail over the microphone, pushing the medium to its limits with a sort of scratch sound.’
    • ‘Hip Hop and Jazz tunes were superbly mixed with turntable scratch and an infectious piano line that dictate the film's progression.’
    • ‘From the first scratch to the last, this album is dope.’
    • ‘Talented DJ's have their own style and Q-Bert is a scratch DJ.’
    • ‘Do you find it hard to beat juggle and scratch as opposed to blending the records to entertain the crowds?’
    • ‘I know every single scratch, every beat, every scream from the crowd.’
    • ‘Jill Scott opens the disc, crooning over a hip-hop bassline and vinyl scratches.’
    • ‘Many of the songs are laced with clever hip hop asides and contain every conceivable type of bleep, scratch and vocal distortion known to nu-metal man.’
    • ‘There's also rock, funk and turntable scratches thrown in for good measure.’
    • ‘No need to say a little prayer for local hip hop DJ and scratch vet Raf Kerwin, aka D.R. One, because he's doing just fine on his own.’
    • ‘Joining them as musical director is local scratch wizard DJ Pocket, who provides a wide mash of musical styles and obscure sounds.’
    • ‘Julie is not just a DJ, but a scratch DJ.’
    • ‘Many amazing comments come from a remarkably sane Genesis P-Orridge while Carl Craig sums up turntablism perfectly as Kid Koala gets his scratch on.’
    • ‘With an intro that's absolute insane scratch work, Flow maintains a feverish and surprisingly melodic tempo throughout the set.’
    • ‘With the scratch specialist Picklez gone, there opened a vacancy for the world's top turntablist crew.’
    • ‘Anyone acquainted with the world of the scratch DJ will understand that it is manly in the way that Hobbyland is manly.’
  • 3mass noun (in sport) the starting point in a race for a competitor that is not given a handicap or advantage.

    ‘a 631-metres handicap, when the excellent stayer, Too Fast, will be off scratch’
    • ‘Faced with having to give them a head-start of 7, he called it evens and had them starting at scratch instead.’
    • ‘Start and scratch is 6.45 pm, with venues to be announced at a later date.’
    1. 3.1Golf A handicap of zero, indicating that a player is good enough to achieve par on a course.
      ‘he plays off scratch in University golf’
      • ‘The others are to play for the county girls and seniors and get my handicap down from six to scratch.’
      • ‘Little Amy, 13, who receives England ‘birdie’ training, wants to get down to scratch.’
      • ‘But having reached a handicap of scratch by the age of 16, the US college student decided his future lay on the fairways and not the football park.’
      • ‘He went part-time at Springfield Park, where he works in the shop, to concentrate on his game and has reduced his ranking to scratch.’
      • ‘I aim to get my handicap down to scratch by the end of next year.’
  • 4informal mass noun Money.

    ‘he was working to get some scratch together’
    • ‘As for material resources, some bloggers are now able to earn some scratch, but this is an effect rather than a cause of their success.’
    • ‘The film makes it very clear that, without some scratch, there is no influence and very little indiscriminate sex.’
    • ‘The upside is that with so much freelance work crammed into a short amount of time, it will bring in a fair amount of scratch.’
    • ‘The film debut was still a bright spot this weekend and the film will likely sweep up some decent scratch over the coming weeks.’
    • ‘A guy could have quite the weekend in Vegas with that kind of scratch.’
    • ‘Many owners suspect, of course, that as the refs demand full-time wages, their true plan is to take the added scratch and keep the other jobs anyway.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, the good mayor's policy of using municipal scratch to buy staff birthday goodies and Christmas presents has also faded into the tundra.’
    • ‘The singer plans to make some serious scratch overseas doing promotional work.’
    • ‘I've done some columns, I've had some freelance gigs, and Smith has gotten me some scratch working for the Internet site.’
    • ‘By '99 they saved up enough scratch to record a full-length album, Rock and Roll Port Three.’
    • ‘I'm a grad student right now, so I don't have a lot of scratch to work with.’
    cash, hard cash, ready money
    View synonyms


  • 1attributive Assembled or made from whatever is available, and so unlikely to be of the highest quality.

    ‘City were fielding a scratch squad’
    • ‘Captain Phillips was not aboard for her last voyage in 1984, which was with a scratch crew taking her to be scrapped.’
    • ‘A scratch crew from the rest of current affairs had to do the job instead.’
    • ‘An allconquering Trinity side from the 1970s is to be pitted against a scratch team of young hopefuls.’
    • ‘Bringing up the rear of the field was scratch man John Pearson.’
    • ‘And then he did it again, leading the scratch platoon he had formed on to its objective.’
    • ‘The UK's greatest scratch DJ crew will bring two hours of the finest UK and US hip hop with incredible turntable skills.’
    • ‘There followed a scurry round to assemble a scratch team, kit them up, organise travel arrangements etc.’
    • ‘After a blistering start, the scratch group of riders caught the rest of the field with two laps to go.’
    • ‘Glass was taking courses at KU, so he joined a scratch league at the student union.’
    • ‘He is, he says, not remotely put off by the ease with which a scratch side with ‘no gameplan and a smattering of hangovers’ dismantled Scotland on Thursday night.’
    • ‘Lown bowls weekly in a scratch league at the Gold Coast in Las Vegas and carried a 189 average last season.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, however, the year 2000 saw the demise of what has been known as the most influential scratch crew ever.’
    • ‘Bath took the game to the Italians with a scratch squad and did so with such determination that there was never any argument about this result.’
    • ‘As a lad in Clifton in York, others recalled how he had insisted everyone wore white for scratch cricket matches.’
    • ‘As a result of a threatened boycott by the former dictator's defence team, the trial may have to take place with a scratch team of lawyers appointed by the court itself.’
    • ‘With the pitch already booked but no one to play, word reached the Lashings pub, where a scratch team was hastily put together among staff and regulars.’
  • 2attributive (of a sports competitor or event) with no handicap given.

    ‘he was a scratch player at many courses’
    • ‘Some of us may never be able to hit the ball as accurately, powerfully or consistently as a scratch player, but with work, we can realistically hope to putt like one.’
    • ‘It doesn't matter if you're a duffer or a scratch golfer, there are a wide variety of courses with unique layouts and challenges for golfers of all skill levels.’
    • ‘On Sunday a minor/intermediate scratch cup takes place.’
    • ‘Ludwell went on to become a scratch golfer and made many appearances for Yorkshire.’
    • ‘He has won most of the honours that the game has to offer and in his prime was almost a scratch player.’
    • ‘He was a scratch player at 12 and had a stellar international record as an amateur.’
    • ‘I never ever did beat Jonno off a scratch event, but Harry used to make sure that Jon always gave me a start and I'd get the best out of myself by trying to stay in front.’
    • ‘I won't get the benefit of those eighteen shots because it is a scratch event but at least I could make an attempt at qualifying.’
    • ‘But it's his sense of humour that shines through, and he brings that to the very serious world of scratch masters.’
    • ‘She knows if it wasn't for the support of her parents she would not be a scratch golfer now contemplating the possibility of turning professional.’
    • ‘Paul, who is already a scratch golfer, is the grandson of well-known Newbridge man Tommy O Hanlon.’
    • ‘Other notables were Mick, who talked the golf crew through 18 holes of scratch golf.’
    • ‘There is a massive difference between being a scratch golfer at home and playing the difficult courses from the back tees!’
    • ‘But look at the difference between a 9-handicapper and a scratch golfer.’
    • ‘Lount, who has been a member at Pike Hills for eight years and first played in the Yorkshire Order of Merit in 2002, is now a scratch golfer but has no plans to turn professional.’
    • ‘She joined Clitheroe Golf Club at the age of eight and became a scratch golfer three weeks after her 16th birthday.’
    • ‘He was also an avid golfer and as long as most can remember was close to being a scratch player.’
    • ‘A scratch golfer who mixes freely with professionals in that game, McGwire is a good judge of what he sees and hears around the circuit.’
    • ‘How difficult, while still being fair, is the course for the scratch player from the back tees?’
    • ‘Although the event is scratch matchplay, Air Force golfers on handicaps up to 18 are encouraged to nominate.’


  • from scratch

    • From the very beginning, especially without making use of or relying on any previous work for assistance.

      ‘he built his own computer company from scratch’
      • ‘They tested the time it took to mix a cake from a packet and from scratch and the home baked one took only 10 minutes longer.’
      • ‘This would give it a cheaper entry to the market, although it would have to start from scratch in building a customer base.’
      • ‘Mr Khan built up his company from scratch and now employs more than 20 people.’
      • ‘Erase everything on the computer's hard drive and start over from scratch.’
      • ‘The two of them wrote the show from scratch, ensured they got all the best lines and threw in deft ad-libs as required.’
      • ‘Native programmers are used to support or maintain current systems, not to produce new ones from scratch.’
      • ‘The idea is to start from scratch and make the best use of the site.’
      • ‘It takes three years for a farmer to develop a bamboo plantation from scratch.’
      • ‘I have never had any general fight training, so each time I have to wield a weapon I start from scratch.’
      • ‘It is a direct reversal of the previous policy where SAS would build its own tools from scratch.’
  • scratch a — and find a —

    • Used to suggest that an investigation of someone or something soon reveals their true nature.

      ‘he had been taught to believe “scratch a pious man and find a hypocrite.”’
  • scratch one's head

    • 1informal Think hard in order to find a solution to something.

      ‘winemakers are scratching their heads for an alternative term’
      • ‘After scratching my head for a bit I realized when she wrote site your sources, what she really meant was ‘Please write the title of Samuel Seabury's pamphlet when you refer to it.’’
      • ‘A greedy otter has left a Preston grandfather scratching his head for a solution to stop the animal slinking into his pond to eat his fish.’
      • ‘I spent a few hours scratching my head and looking for a cryptic code which might shed light on where this maverick genius is getting his ideas from.’
      • ‘Purists in the audience were observed scratching their heads, trying to figure out a way to appreciate the ‘exotic’ composition.’
      • ‘The shop is not selling the album until staff have a better idea of what they've got, but it's not the first time they've found themselves scratching their heads over a potential vinyl windfall.’
      • ‘When next we head to the polls, I may find myself scratching my head in search of a political party that might be worthy of my support.’
      • ‘Still scratching your head over holiday gift ideas for that special someone on your list?’
      • ‘You're probably scratching your head even harder wondering why Merrill Lynch is talking about the impact that acquiring Red Hat may or may not have on Sun.’
      • ‘Local school board members in Charlotte County are left scratching their heads, wondering how they will fit the class into an already full day.’
      • ‘The first big betting race of the year come our way this weekend when the Pierse Hurdle will again draw a big field and have punters scratching their heads to find the winner.’
      think hard, put one's mind to something, give much thought to something, concentrate, try to remember, puzzle over something, cudgel one's brains, furrow one's brow
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Feel or express bewilderment.
        ‘art lovers have been left scratching their heads over an exhibition of kissing toothbrushes’
        • ‘But sometimes, you're just left scratching your head.’
        • ‘Three decades later, we are still scratching our heads.’
        • ‘Despite being a hamlet for more than 100 years, Tiddleywink has been omitted from maps and postmen are frequently left scratching their heads in confusion as to where it is.’
        • ‘A word of warning watching this film: don't take your eyes off it for a moment or you'll be left scratching your head.’
        • ‘He must be scratching his head in bewilderment.’
        • ‘Quit scratching your heads and wondering who he was.’
        • ‘If this leaves you scratching your head, you're not the first.’
        • ‘But in a lapse that has some people scratching their heads, it failed to budget for any aid to Afghanistan in this year's spending plans.’
        • ‘Here it is, the story that had all of us scratching our heads and made everyone in the newsroom say, ‘What The?’’
        • ‘It all moves along pretty fast, and with no track listing to speak of, don't be surprised in the least if you find yourself scratching your head.’
        struggle mentally, be out of one's depth, be in the dark, have difficulty, be confounded, be confused, be dumbfounded
        View synonyms
  • scratch the surface

    • 1Deal with a matter only in the most superficial way.

      ‘research has only scratched the surface of the paranormal’
      • ‘As a matter of fact, most so called health nuts don't even scratch the surface of healthy living anyway, no matter how much they can bench press.’
      • ‘Without an understanding of the experiential learning process, the surface of knowledge and learning are only scratched.’
      • ‘Yet, so far, it seems Stanford has only begun to scratch the surface in terms of its programmatic and curricular activities on matters Indian.’
      • ‘We are only scratching the surface by helping these 350 tortoises, but it is far better that they are in experienced hands than in the hands of smugglers.’
      • ‘The U.N. has introduced a new mechanism for Afghanistan to deal with this latter problem, but it only scratches the surface of what is really required.’
      • ‘Yet even as he was speaking, aid agencies were warning the deal would only scratch the surface.’
      • ‘If I well understood the spirit of the article, both Romanians and Bulgarians should go deeper than scratching on surface in knowing each other.’
      • ‘In the space allotted for this article, I can scratch only the surface of each profiled editor.’
      • ‘Having been here only 9 months I am still only scratching the surface and finding many delights are hidden below the superficial facade.’
      • ‘This is only scratching the surface - there are literally hundreds more one could list, but these are some of the ones I deem most significant for the reasons given.’
    • 2Initiate the briefest investigation to discover something concealed.

      ‘they have a boring image but scratch the surface and it's fascinating’
      • ‘We're scratching at the surface of his character here.’
      • ‘Just double underline that we are still scratching the surface, we have a long way to go.’
      • ‘He felt that he wasn't even scratching the surface of animal trafficking, which is why he decided to join forces with other groups.’
      • ‘Now police fear the investigation has only scratched at the surface of the problem.’
      • ‘I believe we're just scratching the surface in our investigation and a lot more will come out.’
      • ‘The Policing Board member commented: ‘We haven't even scratched the surface of sectarianism yet, nor are we tackling it in any strategic way.’’
      • ‘Over all the years, science has made more and more discoveries - yet still hasn't scratched the surface of nature's wonders.’
      • ‘It is obvious that this figure only scratches the surface of movie piracy when a five year old can download the latest Teletubbies movie over the Internet.’
      • ‘As reporters, journalists in Australia and England and I were to detail over the next year, that initial series only scratched the surface.’
      • ‘Miller said: ‘We haven't even scratched the surface of what we can do with an ear of corn.’’
  • up to scratch

    • Up to the required standard; satisfactory.

      ‘her German was not up to scratch’
      • ‘If it's not quite up to scratch, £1,000 invested in getting it to look its best could make a big difference.’
      • ‘Tony says that he is feeling ‘fine’ at the moment and that he is trying to keep his health and fitness up to scratch.’
      • ‘To do that, they need the money to bring those services up to scratch.’
      • ‘There are many cases on record of writers who have written three or four novels before they produced one which even they thought was up to scratch.’
      • ‘The light must be bright to help you adjust, Standard indoor lighting is not up to scratch.’
      • ‘Are spelling standards and vocabulary up to scratch in Southland schools?’
      • ‘We say so because responses to emergencies like fire outbreaks and accidents are simply not up to scratch.’
      • ‘Irish schools require an investment programme amounting to an estimated 2.5 billion to bring them up to scratch.’
      • ‘It's nice to know that someone thinks my writing is up to scratch!’
      • ‘For instance, the sound system was not up to scratch and I did not feel comfortable performing with bad sound.’
      good enough, up to the mark, up to standard, up to par, satisfactory, acceptable, adequate, passable, sufficient, competent, all right
      View synonyms
  • you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours

    • proverb If you do me a favour, I'll return it.

      • ‘In short, I would prefer honest reviews over the watered-down "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours’ kind.’
      • ‘The amalgamated union of executive and non-executive directors represents a friendly society which operates on the basis of ‘you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours’.’
      • ‘A state that is run according to the principle of ‘you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours’ does not possess the authority required for carrying out ‘painful cuts’.’
      • ‘This statement expresses the real relations between the trade unions and management: you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.’
      • ‘What is so objectionable is the cosiness of it all: you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.’
      • ‘She said the concept is based on the saying, ‘you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours’.’
      • ‘It's a story of ‘you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.’’
      • ‘The idea behind this goes back to you scratch my back I scratch yours.’
      • ‘‘Cooperative’ partnership may be an underused form of relationship between organisations, although it uses mechanisms by which lots of individual business gets done: you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.’


Late Middle English: probably a blend of the synonymous dialect words scrat and cratch, both of uncertain origin; compare with Middle Low German kratsen and Old High German krazzōn.