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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She simply learned to scrawl in marker pen with her left hand, so nobody could tell.’
    • ‘I quickly scrawled my name and number on the note card and handed it to him.’
    • ‘Teenage graffiti artists who scrawled all over a local school and park have been forced to clean up their handiwork.’
    • ‘Unable to grab a piece of paper, some stretched their palms for the cricketer to scrawl his signature across it.’
    • ‘However, he is best known for his irregularly scrawled phrases on road signs.’
    • ‘He does not make to-do lists or scrawl reminders to himself on Post-its.’
    • ‘In high school, I scrawled lyrics in my physics workbook, murmuring the lines.’
    • ‘Kayla scrawled her signature on the prescription pad and tore it off.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He hastily scrawls a message on his class schedule and sends his letter.’
    • ‘Without looking up, the Commish dutifully scrawled his signature on my paper as Andra snapped a photo of us.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After scrawling a quick note to Mom about where I was going, I left the house towards Advenger Hill.’
    • ‘I had left her a hastily scrawled note about Ginger being sick.’
    • ‘Saxton wrote first, scrawling the words down quickly and handing the paper to Airen.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They have taken it upon themselves to ask us this by scrawling the question on every surface they can find around campus.’
    • ‘He appears to be diligently making notes, but is actually scrawling little pictures of stick men on his notepad.’
    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’
    • ‘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 lettering on that had strongly resembled a monkey scrawl, while the spelling and grammar were equally atrocious.’
    • ‘They both had labels but the writing on them was a scrawl.’
    • ‘The writing was a scrawl, verging on messy, yet neat enough to read.’
    • ‘I flipped open the cover and noticed the sloppy scrawl.’
    • ‘Do you now have fourteen pads of Post-Its waiting to be filled with scrawls and doodles?’
    • ‘He shows me his notes so far: an A4 sheet covered in tiny handwritten scrawls and crossings out.’
    • ‘It was handwritten, and I recognized the scrawl as my father's.’
    • ‘A brown-suited instructor with ramrod posture and an air of self-important officialdom points at a blackboard covered with indecipherable scrawls.’
    • ‘It is from one of the Catalan's final faxes, when his handwriting was little more than a scrawl.’
    • ‘Kenta squinted, trying to read it, but could not decipher the scrawl.’
    • ‘Police make no distinction between full-scale graffiti murals, or ‘masterpieces,’ and the juvenile scrawls of territory-marking taggers.’
    • ‘It was covered in scrawl and writing in all directions for all his different subjects.’
    • ‘Hedda picked out one covered with mysterious scrawls and studied it carefully, until she finally looked up.’
    • ‘Do you remember how to do real handwriting or are you so rusty your scrawl resembles a doctor's prescription?’
    • ‘A drawing of the original Worden Hall, used to decorate the shelter, is covered in scrawl and may have to be painted over.’
    • ‘Although it was only re-sprayed last week, the Bluebells Path subway in Haydon Wick is now covered with fresh scrawls.’
    • ‘Writing fast made her writing look like a 10-year-old's chicken scrawls.’
    • ‘Her neat handwriting was flowing and legible, nothing like my slanted scrawl.’
    • ‘When a person signs a document, his acceptance of an illegible scrawl as his signature is sufficient to make it his signature.’
    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’.