Definition of scrimmage in English:



  • 1A confused struggle or fight.

    ‘there was a considerable scrimmage, with people anxious to obtain cabs’
    • ‘Different situations, and momentaneous scrimmages brought about this rivalry, and consequently led to many wars between the natives and settlers in the years to come.’
    • ‘And they were not able to make any scrimmages with any of our fighters in the city.’
    • ‘This exhibition was as different as possible from our normal scrimmages.’
    fight, battle, struggle, tussle, brawl, fracas, rumpus, melee, free-for-all, rough and tumble
    View synonyms
  • 2American Football
    mass noun A sequence of play beginning with the placing of the ball on the ground with its longest axis at right angles to the goal line.

    ‘Michigan was called for pass interference in the first play from scrimmage’
    • ‘Any kick from scrimmage must be made from behind the line to be legal.’
    • ‘On a play from scrimmage, if an offensive player fumbles anywhere on the field during fourth down, only the fumbling player is permitted to recover and/or advance the ball.’
    • ‘Later in the series, the next offense had a little bit better luck as the freshman running back gained 17 yards on the first play from scrimmage.’
    1. 2.1count noun A session in which teams practise by playing a simulated game.
      • ‘I'll have you know that I spend more time checking injury reports, reviewing practices and scrimmages, and comparing schedules and outcomes than most people spend sleeping.’
      • ‘Owners decided that coaches would fill the additional schedule time produced by the elimination of two preseason games with additional intrasquad scrimmages.’
      • ‘Kansas City's offensive line, nearing a record for most consecutive starts as a group, destroyed Minnesota's front seven during two days of scrimmages in August.’
      • ‘By the time scrimmages were over she knew that she'd managed to acquire a few more bruises.’
      • ‘Leading up to the season, the team has played a number of short scrimmages against local colleges.’
      • ‘Friday practices during the fall were usually scrimmages and Adrian had learned to look forward to them each week; but this week was different.’
      • ‘After the rest of the drills, Coach broke them up into teams for scrimmages.’
      • ‘Some online league play, customized team matches and plain scrimmages would definitely be a welcome addition to the game.’
      • ‘I mean like… I've played with them, I've played against them in scrimmages, but never for real.’
      • ‘He has been declared healthy for the 2003 season, although the Badgers are holding him out of scrimmages as a precaution.’
      • ‘Varsity soccer teams will practice on the turf, saving the grass competition fields for games and scrimmages.’
      • ‘This included three thirty minutes scrimmages, followed by a twenty minute scrimmage.’


[no object]American Football
  • 1Engage in a scrimmage.

    ‘I recommended that we be able to scrimmage against other schools during the spring’
    • ‘Of course, it never helps to sprain an ankle halfway through by stepping on someone else's foot scrimmaging, and then continue to run on it…’
    • ‘We'll just be scrimmaging, and a few different drills, so I can see who you are and where I want to put you.’
    • ‘By scrimmaging, players react under game conditions.’
    • ‘When she got there, the girls were already scrimmaging.’
    • ‘She was basically her rival on the soccer field when it came to scrimmaging because they always went at it.’
    • ‘After that, he scrimmages before finishing with ten minutes of stretching.’
    1. 1.1with object Put (the ball) into a scrimmage.
      • ‘Following a field goal, the non-scoring team may choose for play to resume either with a kickoff as above, or by scrimmaging the ball from its own 35-yard line.’


Late Middle English: alteration of dialect scrimish, variant of the noun skirmish.