Definition of scraggly in US English:


(also scraggy)


  • 1(of a person or animal) thin and bony.

    • ‘After unwinding during my sculpting class I could stop off for a giant pretzel or could hear a dozen scraggy men playing acoustic tunes on their guitars.’
    • ‘Unknown to her, a tall, scraggy man stood in the doorway, watching her.’
    • ‘The Prior planted his crops around them, and in their shade the scraggy sheep nibbled the grasses.’
    • ‘I sat next to a scraggy woman whose child in the seat behind leant forward between us and asked her why some people go on holiday on their own.’
    • ‘A scraggy goat has two Queen's College pupils to thank for its life after spending a week in a small crevice on a rugged mountain top.’
    • ‘The young boy, scraggly and thin, struggled against him before kicking him in the leg and darting off.’
    • ‘I went to check my balance at a cashpoint and noticed a rather scraggy man leaning in the window of a white van parked beside the cashpoint.’
    • ‘There were flies by the billions, dirt and refuse everywhere, and scraggy dogs searching in the stalls for food.’
    • ‘One day in the mountains I met a young shepherd and we chatted for over half an hour while his scraggy sheep tinkled and grazed.’
    • ‘What was a scraggy teenager doing in their favorite café, how could such a feeble creature as myself ever appreciate the true value of such a cultured beverage as tea?’
    • ‘You didn't always look like a scraggy old man?’
    • ‘The boy was scraggly and thin, and his strange, purple eyes were constantly darting this way and that.’
    • ‘You can't really see from the picture but his back end is still very scraggly and he's extremely thin under the bushy fur that remains around his shoulders and head.’
    • ‘Tina smiled at a scraggy boy who was leaning against the railing as she walked past him.’
    • ‘Last year a thin, scraggy squirrel appeared in my garden from nowhere, looking hungry.’
    • ‘I always found myself embarrassed when confronted with pictures of scraggy or sagging wives and overfed, grinning offspring.’
    scrawny, thin, thin as a rake, skinny, skin-and-bones, size-zero, gaunt, bony, angular, gawky, rangy, raw-boned, skeletal, emaciated, pinched
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    1. 1.1 Ragged, thin, or untidy in form or appearance.
      ‘a man with a scraggly beard’
      • ‘Its appearance was that of a wooden skeleton except with scraggly twigs and splinters jutting out from its joints and face.’
      • ‘Francona, who could have taken a conservative stance against his players' scraggly hair and scruffy beards, instead embraced his team's approach.’
      • ‘I recognized the face, which was a bit scraggy, but I couldn't reconcile with my memory as to how I knew her.’
      • ‘They all looked disheveled with dirty clothing and most of them had scruffy beards and scraggly hair.’
      • ‘He's first seen down-and-out, with a scraggly beard and out of work until his old mercenary buddy Rayburn gets him a job as a bodyguard.’
      • ‘Her dark blonde hair was scraggy and flyaway and her face told a story of beauty aging gracefully.’
      • ‘The man was in his forties, had scraggy brown hair, and dark green eyes.’
      • ‘The crown of his head was devoid of hair but thick gray strands grew along the sides and a scraggly moustache fell around his thin mouth.’
      • ‘At dawn for the past two mornings, great scraggly flocks of rooks mixed with a few jackdaws pour over our base moving from their roosts to the freshly plowed fields.’
      • ‘‘Well,’ Bob said as he widened his stance and rubbed his scraggly beard.’
      • ‘He had a full - blown mustache and beard, both of which were scraggly and unkempt.’
      • ‘Don Shirley, an understated man with steel-frame glasses and a scraggly beard, was a kindred spirit.’
      • ‘Together with his unkempt mop of wavy brown hair and his scraggly beard, his appearance was most intimidating.’
      • ‘He was wearing a suit, his tie in one of those enormous Windsor knots, but his trademark red beard was scraggly as always.’
      • ‘I took mine, which had my name scrawled on the top in a thin, scraggly, yet elegant script.’
      • ‘He is described as aged 40 to 45, about six feet tall with grey, scraggy shoulder length hair.’
      • ‘‘Greetings from the Nevada Test Site,’ it proclaimed, showing a collage of doomsday clouds floating above a scraggly desert.’
      • ‘His pale face, which was thin and almost frail, was framed by a scraggly beard and long straight hair that was perfectly parted in the middle.’
      • ‘He tilted his head up revealing a long beard and scraggly hair.’
      • ‘In the old days, dogs and cats were happy with a scraggy old blanket to curl up in.’
    2. 1.2 (of a plant, tree, or shrubbery) sparsely foliated or having thin, uneven growth.
      ‘it was the scraggliest Christmas tree I had ever seen’
      • ‘Once the flowers start looking scraggly, trim them back and the plant will bounce back with more.’
      • ‘Nothing can bring down the looks of an otherwise tidy course than weeds and scraggly grass at the base of trees.’
      • ‘About 70 huge boats, some with four to five families on board, were tied to scraggly pine trees down the canal.’
      • ‘The swish of green and gold bamboo can add sophistication, but bear in mind that their delicate leaves can turn scraggy in our climes.’
      • ‘A few scraggly bushes struggled to grow in the arid soil.’
      • ‘Chimney Rock dominates a little island otherwise undistinguished: a few scrub trees, scraggly grass, no landing beach.’
      • ‘Pine trees and oyamel firs predominate if undisturbed, enmeshing their scraggly tops in one solid molding of green.’
      • ‘Only a few wind-blown, scraggly willows grow north of the Brooks Range, mostly along rivers and creeks in this dry climate.’
      • ‘Practically a mountain in itself, the terraced heap supports scraggly clumps of grass and not much else.’
      • ‘After herringboning up the powdery side of Sentinal Dome, we skied over to a rocky outcrop where a scraggly old tree clung to the rocks.’
      • ‘Little more than an expanse of scraggly lawn ringed with trees, it nevertheless was the only park in my neighbourhood for children to play in.’
      • ‘When a big, shady space needs a face-lift, remove overgrown or scraggly plants so you can make a fresh start.’
      • ‘From the small plane, they passed below me - a bleak, forlorn landscape of scraggy spruce, frozen ponds and wind-whipped snow.’
      • ‘It's astonishing how rose bushes will cling on to life despite neglect, growing more and more scraggy and lanky year after year.’
      • ‘As predicted, few of the scraggly bushes have berries.’
      • ‘Ashwood helped him climb out of the shelter, and he sat down on the sand in the shade of a scraggly acacia tree.’
      • ‘Instead of my life flashing before me, all I see is the flash of the road and dirt and scraggly trees as the car begins to spin.’
      • ‘With just a few scraggly ferns and blueberry bushes to choose from, a deer would have a tough time finding a snack.’
      • ‘The rescue people had posted a guard, so we took up an eerie vigil in a grove of scraggy timberline pines.’
      • ‘The ground was bare except for the occasional scraggly weed and blue fern.’