Definition of scrounge in English:



[WITH OBJECT]informal
  • 1 Seek to obtain (something, typically food or money) at the expense or through the generosity of others or by stealth:

    ‘he had managed to scrounge a free meal’
    ‘we stopped scrounging for cigarettes’
    [no object] ‘we didn't scrounge off the social security’
    • ‘And the crews I sent scrounging for projectiles?’
    • ‘I spent 10 years out on the streets, scrounging for food, after you turned her against me!’
    • ‘The cash-strapped firm may have hit on a solution for companies scrounging for the dough to pump up pension funds that were recently flattened by the stock market's slide.’
    • ‘Instead of loosing my mind, or scrounging for food, or searching for a soul survivor, I decided to do my laundry instead.’
    • ‘Bears scrounging for human food will be busy at the water-side campsites, and will almost invariably ignore the far-removed and unproductive woods.’
    • ‘Your father is going to tear up that contract and we're going to be out scrounging for work again.’
    • ‘She expresses her desire to send him as much money as she can scrounge up.’
    • ‘Yet, here he was, dressed in the dirtiest of clothes, scrounging for money.’
    • ‘You spend your benefit money on drugs and then you come round here scrounging for free food.’
    • ‘My grades need to be brought up, and I am scrounging for credits for college.’
    • ‘Like the queen, he doesn't carry cash, so the billionaire has to scrounge cab fare from colleagues.’
    • ‘This meant that when we weren't shooting, we were scrounging for work.’
    • ‘So it's not really scrounging for money anymore.’
    • ‘As a reviewer I don't get sent everything I ask for and so I scrounge quite a bit - but only for the films I really, really want.’
    • ‘The lack of materials meant that teachers must either use lecture and recitation or spend unrealistic amounts of time scrounging for materials and planning creative lessons.’
    • ‘As stowaways scrounging for food, they are forced to flee the authorities.’
    beg, borrow
    cadge, sponge, bum, touch someone for
    sorn on someone for
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1often scrounge something upNorth American Search for or obtain by searching.
      • ‘As far as I know, the Sidearms were usually issued too officers, but enlisted men were able to scrounge them up easily enough.’
      • ‘‘Yes, I was hoping you would scrounge something up for me,’ Anya grinned.’
      • ‘Thank you so much for scrounging them up for me in the first place.’
      • ‘He scrounged them up in the Municipal Archives on Chambers Street in Manhattan, the address of which he has committed to memory.’


  • [in singular] An act of scrounging:

    ‘we went for a scrounge’
    • ‘I can have a scrounge around for you as I'm not going to bed but don't have anything really important to do at the moment.’
    • ‘How can the mother get tax credits if she pays no tax as she's not working... that is a good scrounge.’
    • ‘I will have a scrounge around today and see if I can find any more.’
    • ‘It was in fact, an official scrounge, all expenses paid.’


  • on the scrounge

    • Engaged in scrounging:

      ‘she's always on the scrounge’
      • ‘Just had an invite to the press conference on Monday and I'm on the scrounge for questions.’
      • ‘So on the scrounge for tickets and a trip to Cardiff now!’
      • ‘The cliches are there, waiting to be embraced - the prissy sister, the loser on the scrounge, the kid who talks about a daddy he has never seen.’
      • ‘The prodigal ex-hippie who returns to an Essex village after blagging his way through eight years on the scrounge is still as charming and feckless as ever.’
      • ‘Miners also worked over the island itself, digging and turning over much of the land over like Wombats on the scrounge, leaving a battlefield landscape of deeply gouged scars.’
      • ‘I'd rather give my money to help Iranian democrats than bloggers on the scrounge wouldn't you?’
      • ‘Mention asylum seekers and he shakes his fist at all those foreigners on the scrounge.’
      • ‘Or the fact that the Liberal had to go on the scrounge because he didn't have a pen in the first place!’


Early 20th century: variant of dialect scrunge ‘steal’.