Definition of scrounge in English:



[with object]informal
  • 1Seek 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’
    • ‘Like the queen, he doesn't carry cash, so the billionaire has to scrounge cab fare from colleagues.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You spend your benefit money on drugs and then you come round here scrounging for free food.’
    • ‘So it's not really scrounging for money anymore.’
    • ‘As stowaways scrounging for food, they are forced to flee the authorities.’
    • ‘Yet, here he was, dressed in the dirtiest of clothes, scrounging for money.’
    • ‘This meant that when we weren't shooting, we were scrounging for work.’
    • ‘I spent 10 years out on the streets, scrounging for food, after you turned her against me!’
    • ‘Instead of loosing my mind, or scrounging for food, or searching for a soul survivor, I decided to do my laundry instead.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And the crews I sent scrounging for projectiles?’
    • ‘She expresses her desire to send him as much money as she can scrounge up.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My grades need to be brought up, and I am scrounging for credits for college.’
    beg, borrow
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1often scrounge something upNorth American Search for or obtain by searching.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Yes, I was hoping you would scrounge something up for me,’ Anya grinned.’
      • ‘As far as I know, the Sidearms were usually issued too officers, but enlisted men were able to scrounge them up easily enough.’


  • An act of scrounging.

    ‘we went for a scrounge’
    • ‘I will have a scrounge around today and see if I can find any more.’
    • ‘How can the mother get tax credits if she pays no tax as she's not working... that is a good scrounge.’
    • ‘It was in fact, an official scrounge, all expenses paid.’
    • ‘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.’


  • on the scrounge

    • informal 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mention asylum seekers and he shakes his fist at all those foreigners on the scrounge.’
      • ‘I'd rather give my money to help Iranian democrats than bloggers on the scrounge wouldn't you?’
      • ‘Or the fact that the Liberal had to go on the scrounge because he didn't have a pen in the first place!’
      • ‘So on the scrounge for tickets and a trip to Cardiff now!’


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