Definition of scrawl in English:



[with object]
  • Write (something) in a hurried, careless way.

    ‘Charlie scrawled his signature’
    no object ‘he was scrawling on the back of a used envelope’
    • ‘After scrawling a quick note to Mom about where I was going, I left the house towards Advenger Hill.’
    • ‘The Tablet PC allows students to scrawl notes and draw diagrams onto the screen with the touch of a pen-like stylus.’
    • ‘When he saw something of note, he scrawled it on a folded up piece of yellow legal paper he kept in his coat pocket.’
    • ‘Without looking up, the Commish dutifully scrawled his signature on my paper as Andra snapped a photo of us.’
    • ‘Kayla scrawled her signature on the prescription pad and tore it off.’
    • ‘Teenage graffiti artists who scrawled all over a local school and park have been forced to clean up their handiwork.’
    • ‘However, he is best known for his irregularly scrawled phrases on road signs.’
    • ‘He appears to be diligently making notes, but is actually scrawling little pictures of stick men on his notepad.’
    • ‘He hastily scrawls a message on his class schedule and sends his letter.’
    • ‘You wouldn't use the Big Chief tablet and a pencil to scrawl paper letters to your customers: take the same care with your e-mail.’
    • ‘I had left her a hastily scrawled note about Ginger being sick.’
    • ‘In high school, I scrawled lyrics in my physics workbook, murmuring the lines.’
    • ‘No space was officially provided for additional views, so residents wanting to comment further were left with little choice but to scrawl notes around the three tick boxes.’
    • ‘While running for mayor in 1999 he told an Inquirer reporter that folks who scrawl their signature on checks to his campaign would be favored for city contracts.’
    • ‘She simply learned to scrawl in marker pen with her left hand, so nobody could tell.’
    • ‘Unable to grab a piece of paper, some stretched their palms for the cricketer to scrawl his signature across it.’
    • ‘I quickly scrawled my name and number on the note card and handed it to him.’
    • ‘We've scrawled some things into a copy book that describe how we feel when we're lonely or an image we remember from an intense period of loneliness.’
    • ‘Saxton wrote first, scrawling the words down quickly and handing the paper to Airen.’
    • ‘They have taken it upon themselves to ask us this by scrawling the question on every surface they can find around campus.’
    • ‘He does not make to-do lists or scrawl reminders to himself on Post-its.’
    scribble, write hurriedly, write untidily, write illegibly, scratch, doodle, dash off, jot, jot down
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  • An example of hurried, careless writing.

    ‘the page was covered in scrawls and doodles’
    mass noun ‘reams and reams of handwritten scrawl’
    • ‘It was handwritten, and I recognized the scrawl as my father's.’
    • ‘It was covered in scrawl and writing in all directions for all his different subjects.’
    • ‘Although it was only re-sprayed last week, the Bluebells Path subway in Haydon Wick is now covered with fresh scrawls.’
    • ‘Kenta squinted, trying to read it, but could not decipher the scrawl.’
    • ‘The lettering on that had strongly resembled a monkey scrawl, while the spelling and grammar were equally atrocious.’
    • ‘I flipped open the cover and noticed the sloppy scrawl.’
    • ‘Her neat handwriting was flowing and legible, nothing like my slanted scrawl.’
    • ‘Do you remember how to do real handwriting or are you so rusty your scrawl resembles a doctor's prescription?’
    • ‘A brown-suited instructor with ramrod posture and an air of self-important officialdom points at a blackboard covered with indecipherable scrawls.’
    • ‘He shows me his notes so far: an A4 sheet covered in tiny handwritten scrawls and crossings out.’
    • ‘A familiar scrawl of handwriting covered the paper and on the cover side was a picture of Chicago, with its skyscrapers and hazy grey skies.’
    • ‘The writing was a scrawl, verging on messy, yet neat enough to read.’
    • ‘When a person signs a document, his acceptance of an illegible scrawl as his signature is sufficient to make it his signature.’
    • ‘They both had labels but the writing on them was a scrawl.’
    • ‘A drawing of the original Worden Hall, used to decorate the shelter, is covered in scrawl and may have to be painted over.’
    • ‘Writing fast made her writing look like a 10-year-old's chicken scrawls.’
    • ‘It is from one of the Catalan's final faxes, when his handwriting was little more than a scrawl.’
    • ‘Do you now have fourteen pads of Post-Its waiting to be filled with scrawls and doodles?’
    • ‘Hedda picked out one covered with mysterious scrawls and studied it carefully, until she finally looked up.’
    • ‘Police make no distinction between full-scale graffiti murals, or ‘masterpieces,’ and the juvenile scrawls of territory-marking taggers.’
    scribble, hurried handwriting, untidy handwriting, illegible handwriting, squiggle, squiggles
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Early 17th century: apparently an alteration of the verb crawl, perhaps influenced by obsolete scrawl ‘sprawl’.