Definition of scramble in English:



  • 1[no object] Make one's way quickly or awkwardly up a steep slope or over rough ground by using one's hands as well as one's feet.

    ‘we scrambled over the wet boulders’
    • ‘After falling awkwardly injuring her leg, she was unable to get to her feet and scramble back up the embankment to the path above.’
    • ‘Tripping and scrambling over the uneven ground, she fled blindly.’
    • ‘The children had been tossed around underwater but managed to get to their feet and scramble to higher ground.’
    • ‘It's worth scrambling into some of the tombs to see the finely marbled stone, ribbed and veined into extraordinary patterns by the forces of nature.’
    • ‘I gave chase with the others, scrambling over a steep ridge, mainlining adrenaline, wanting to see the cat run one more time.’
    • ‘Jameson scramble up the rock face and moved to a position where he could see the path.’
    • ‘Then people began screaming again and pointing and we ran and scrambled up the hill.’
    • ‘After scrambling up the steep banks and ploughing through the undergrowth with my boat in tow, I emerged bedraggled and muddy.’
    • ‘You can also scramble over rocks, thanks to the shoe's rubber lug sole.’
    • ‘Pedestrians took their lives in their hands running the tree-lined gauntlet, forced to scramble up steep bankings if two vehicles met on the narrow stretch.’
    • ‘She broke down in tears as she relived her ordeal and told how she desperately tried to scramble up the steep banking and how she tried to fight off her attacker.’
    • ‘Without another moment's pause, Darien rushed forward, scrambling up the wall.’
    • ‘He scrambled up the hill with the vegetation catching and pulling at his clothes.’
    • ‘Hopping up quickly, she scrambled down the side of the rock to flat ground; smoothing the winkles of her dress.’
    • ‘The ground was rocky and Damian quickly scrambled over to Thera.’
    • ‘We take all morning to climb the steep ridge, scrambling over huge granite boulders, taking care not to dislodge stones, which might hit hikers below.’
    • ‘Joe scrambled up the hill as the rockets blasted the grass below.’
    • ‘We scrambled over some rocks and were soon looking down from about 60 feet onto the lagoons.’
    • ‘There were no flat landings and we all had to scramble up the steep bank pulling on ferns and trees.’
    clamber, climb, crawl, claw one's way, scrabble, grope one's way
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    1. 1.1Move hurriedly or clumsily from or into a particular place or position.
      ‘she scrambled out of the car’
      ‘I tried to scramble to my feet’
      • ‘The child scrambled clumsily to her feet and began to run in the other direction.’
      • ‘‘What happened?’ Laras demanded, scrambling to a sitting position and examining his scraped knees and palms.’
      • ‘He quickly let her through, and she scrambled hurriedly to the door, but not before her math teacher got to her.’
      • ‘She scrambled into bed and turned off the light.’
      • ‘She backed away from him nervously, tripping over a stick, then quickly scrambling to her feet.’
      • ‘She was up and pushing herself off of the ground quickly and Tristin scrambled away.’
      • ‘Panicking, I tried to scramble up and move away, but was too late.’
      • ‘Hailey hurriedly scrambled off the bed, and lunged at James with her arms outstretched.’
      • ‘Chuck scrambled into her room and began looking everywhere for her.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, those few who had managed to scramble ashore were sheltering below a ruined Turkish fort.’
      • ‘Nikholas was sitting in front of the cell's bars, although he scrambled to a standing position as Ian entered.’
      • ‘He landed roughly on the ground and quickly scrambled to his feet.’
      • ‘Kyle's eyes widened and he moved back, eventually scrambling back so fast he fell over.’
      • ‘Doctors scrambled around hurriedly requesting tools and pushing nurses out of the way.’
      • ‘He and several colleagues scrambled into the hall, where they faced a terrifying choice: to their right, fire; to their left, thick smoke.’
      • ‘Workers scrambled to their positions in preparation for what had been determined to be an attack from a monster.’
      • ‘I scrambled to a sitting position and stared at the person who had burst down the door.’
      • ‘I used to take the double-decker bus into town to shop for my mother, and Porrock used to go with me, scrambling up the steep stairs to the top deck.’
      • ‘She interrupted him again, this time with a hurried bow, and scrambled out of the room before he could finish the question.’
      • ‘Her crew of 24 scrambled into lifeboats as the 50,000-tonne, 200-metre ship went down within 90 minutes.’
      struggle, hurry, scurry, scud, scutter, hasten, rush, race, run
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    2. 1.2Put (clothes) on hurriedly.
      ‘Robbie scrambled into jeans and a T-shirt’
      • ‘I was madly scrambling into my drysuit while Bill got the details from the divers, who had been drifting with this group for an hour or so.’
      • ‘Hastily he got out of bed and scrambled into his clothes.’
      • ‘She scrambled into her clothing and ran out to the couch.’
      • ‘Sporadic sounds from instruments and band members yelling filled the room as everyone scrambled into their uniforms and went over their music one last time.’
      • ‘‘I am now a Bucks fan and I will make sure I'm at the stadium whenever the Bucks play at home,’ he said while scrambling into the familiar black and gold jersey.’
      • ‘He recalls panic as sirens sounded and troops had to scramble into nuclear, biological and chemical protective suits in temperatures sometimes topping 130F.’
      • ‘I scrambled into my dressing gown and half-dashed half-limped down the stairs.’
    3. 1.3informal [with object]Perform (an action) or achieve (a result) hurriedly, clumsily, or with difficulty.
      • ‘There was still a chance for Andy Kirk, but the ball was scrambled away.’
      • ‘Bath then captured 5-22 and must have been distraught when Bolton were able to scramble a two-wicket win off the final delivery.’
      • ‘He raced clear of the defence to scramble the ball past keeper Mark Cairns.’
      • ‘Frotunately, the kick cracked the foot of the post and was scrambled away.’
      • ‘Hoyne broke through, was bottled up before he scrambled a pass to Shefflin and he first-timed a low shot from close range.’
      • ‘But the ball also struck the far post and the Newry defence scrambled it clear.’
      • ‘The midfielder's fiercely hit left wing cross was scrambled clear.’
      • ‘Udall then had to scramble the corner away under pressure from Brian Pennington.’
      • ‘And he will have been delighted with the way his team kept battling to the end and came closest to scrambling a winner in both recent draws.’
      • ‘Gary Louth scrambled an early goal for Bentham and they got a fortunate second when a shot flipped up off a divot and the Grange keeper caught it but fell back over his line.’
      • ‘The young defender almost gave Thistle the lead as early as the sixth minute, but his header from a corner was scrambled clear by Gordon Russell.’
      • ‘Three minutes later a mix-up in the Fenor goalmouth was penalised when Brian Canty appeared to get the final touch as the ball was scrambled to the net.’
      • ‘That fell to Basturk, who cottoned on to Sas' through ball only to see his header scrambled off the line by Omar Daf.’
      • ‘Mercer, Lee Ashcroft and Foster then combined in a move that was scrambled away from the Telford line.’
      • ‘A Harte free was dropped by Robbie Jameson before the Eadestown keeper recovered and scrambled the ball to safety.’
      • ‘The ball is scrambled away for a throw.’
      • ‘Livingston were under the cosh, scrambling the ball clear twice in injury time, but held on desperately for points.’
      • ‘Then he had a shot which struck the post before being scrambled away by the visitors.’
      • ‘David Wetherall headed the cross for Watford's first corner which was scrambled away.’
      • ‘He went off on a weaving run before chipping through only for the ball to be scrambled clear.’
    4. 1.4[with infinitive]Struggle or compete with others for something in an eager or uncontrolled and undignified way.
      ‘firms scrambled to win public-sector contracts’
      • ‘The software sector lends itself to mergers and takeovers as firms scramble to keep pace with market changes and shifting demand.’
      • ‘The lunchroom turned into a full-fledged panic as the students scrambled to find shelter.’
      • ‘With a market downturn, firms are scrambling to sustain those billable hours and are rethinking how much they should pay their PMs, he says.’
      • ‘This is a new benchmark for LCD production that competitors will have to scramble to emulate.’
      • ‘The Aggies have been far less competitive than they were last year and are scrambling to salvage something positive out of this season.’
      • ‘It was investors looking for bargains who produced last week's momentum, not shorts scrambling to cover their positions.’
      • ‘Most hospitals are scrambling like crazy to try to fill vacant positions.’
      • ‘They have taken over key positions there and are scrambling to devise a plan to salvage the business.’
      • ‘As a backlash against this silly move builds, the Greens are now scrambling to explain away the mess.’
      • ‘Three powerful recent blasts from three wholly different regions in space have left scientists scrambling.’
      • ‘The media giant is pulling apart its empire as it scrambles to compete in a changed media world.’
      • ‘She is scrambling to make up ground against her rivals.’
      • ‘Under green flag racing, drivers are in fighting mode, scrambling for track position.’
      • ‘The bell rang and I jumped before quickly scrambling to collect my books.’
      • ‘Shutting the operation down has left ISP Channel affiliates scrambling.’
      • ‘It is left now to the white collar worker to scramble for a position.’
      • ‘His family is struggling and scrambling to deal with not only the emotional issues but the financial impact as well.’
      • ‘The potential has international ad agencies scrambling for position.’
      • ‘Our salespeople really had to scramble to maintain our position.’
      • ‘The media bombard the public with calls for more government spending and eager politicians scramble to help in the spend-up.’
      jostle, scuffle, scrimmage, tussle, battle, struggle, strive, compete, contend, vie, jockey
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    5. 1.5[with object]Order (a fighter aircraft or its pilot) to take off immediately in an emergency or for action.
      • ‘Six squadrons of Spitfires and Hurricanes are scrambled.’
      • ‘They scrambled fighter interceptors because they were tracking strange objects on radar making all kinds of radical maneuvers.’
      • ‘The call was to let him know there were going to be jets scrambled after the aircraft.’
      • ‘The Air Force scrambled interceptor aircraft to investigate, but they found nothing.’
      • ‘Fighter jets have been scrambled in the area and all three major metropolitan airports have been closed.’
      • ‘This leads to the question of why the air force failed to scramble its fighter jets as soon as it received news that four planes had been hijacked.’
      • ‘He replied that he had numerous reports and that the Air Force had scrambled jet fighters to attempt to catch them, but had failed to get close to them.’
      • ‘It proved unsuccessful as no enemy was encountered although Sabres were scrambled.’
      • ‘Fearing further action from Chinese military, the air force scrambled two IDF fighters to aid the Mirage jets.’
      • ‘Maj Martin said fighter jets had been scrambled 1,500 times since the September 11 attacks.’
      • ‘An RAF rescue helicopter was scrambled from Chivenor in Devon and she was winched up from the beach and flown to Withybush hospital.’
      • ‘Police were dispatched to the scene and an RAF helicopter was scrambled to airlift him to Raigmore Hospital where he was being treated last night.’
      • ‘A Royal Navy Rescue Helicopter was scrambled as was the Coastguard rescue helicopter from Stornoway.’
      • ‘Now, we've scrambled twelve aircraft, but I can't send them in without presidential authority.’
      • ‘An RAF helicopter and a police spotter aircraft were scrambled, and 90 rescuers scoured the moor near Keld, County Durham.’
      • ‘The Ministry of Defence confirmed an RAF Tornado F3 fighter would have been scrambled if the plane had been hijacked.’
      • ‘RAF helicopters were scrambled and the plane was greeted by armed police backed up by teams of firefighters and paramedics.’
      • ‘The aeronautical rescue co-ordination centre at RAF Kinloss immediately scrambled a helicopter.’
      • ‘A rescue helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth was scrambled to aid lifeboat crews in the four-hour search.’
      • ‘The Russian air force scrambled a fighter jet to intercept a Manchester-bound airliner that had strayed into its air space’
    6. 1.6(of a fighter aircraft or its pilot) take off immediately for action.
      • ‘RAF jets will patrol an air-exclusion zone while others will be ready for scrambling at the Leuchars air force base near St Andrews.’
      • ‘True, fighters can scramble to a hot spot earlier than a cruiser, but what's the point in doing so when they get shot down by enemy cruisers in two seconds?’
      • ‘Fighter jets scramble too late to intercept a private plane flying very close to the White House.’
      • ‘The aircraft are designed to scramble and intercept incoming enemy jets before they can pose a threat to the carriers.’
      • ‘The objects were also picked up by radar, prompting jet fighters to scramble to intercept.’
      • ‘Jets and bombers scrambled again; the strikes would go on.’
      • ‘If the plane is acting suspiciously, fighter jets could scramble to intercept.’
      • ‘Fighter jets and Blackhawk helicopters scrambled before the plane was identified and escorted to the Washington airport.’
      • ‘All twelve of Devil fighters scrambled and accelerated to top speed and engaged the puny defences of Sky Base Beta.’
      • ‘They will be forced to deploy their guards outside to try and hold you off while one of their squadrons scrambles from the spaceport.’
      • ‘We scrambled in squadrons of 12 aircraft from Biggin Hill and climbed like crazy to get over the Germans so we could dive on them.’
      • ‘In Britain, Royal Air Force fighter planes scrambled today to escort a Greek jetliner to a London airport.’
      • ‘German fighter planes scramble to intercept him but he lands safely.’
      • ‘Seven helicopters scrambled to join the rescue effort there.’
      • ‘We scrambled, but one plane had trouble and did not get off.’
      • ‘Fighter jets scrambled into the clear blue skies above the American capital.’
      • ‘Fighter jets scrambled and diverted the plane to Halifax, Nova Scotia.’
      • ‘I think that there were serious errors in not notifying them in time, serious errors in terms of deciding which air bases were tasked with scrambling.’
    7. 1.7American Football (of a quarterback) run around with the ball behind the line of scrimmage while looking for an open receiver.
      • ‘There are four new starters on an inexperienced line, so the team needs a quarterback who can scramble and react to the blitz.’
      • ‘Brad Johnson scrambles for 10 yards on third down to get the first down.’
      • ‘He can scramble to avoid pressure and pick up yardage on the run, but he doesn't have a pro arm and is accurate in streaks.’
      • ‘I recall a game from my playing days with the Broncos when we were playing the Vikings in Minnesota and John Elway scrambled in the red zone.’
      • ‘He can scramble enough for his receivers to get open, and he can throw a tight pass in traffic.’
    8. 1.8American Football Run forward with the ball when unable to pass to an open receiver.
      • ‘Great work from the forwards took them to the Caerphilly line, but John Petrie was unable to scramble over.’
      • ‘But Starkey instead scrambled over the line on the last tackle to seal a momentous win and Ince's first loss in seven games.’
      • ‘The second play nobody was open so I scramble all the way in for a touchdown.’
      • ‘Smith hit him and forced a fumble, but King was able to pick up the loose ball and start scrambling.’
      • ‘He must learn to protect the ball better when passing and scrambling.’
  • 2[with object] Make (something) jumbled or muddled.

    ‘maybe the alcohol has scrambled his brains’
    • ‘Determined to have their say before senility scrambled their wits, they would sit down in the afterglow of evening to bear witness to the nature of their times.’
    • ‘His brain was scrambled, a mess of hash browns, but some twisted force kept him moving.’
    • ‘I asked for that data under the Official Information Act, and I received a scrambled reply from the ministry that said I am allowed a briefing on it.’
    • ‘Indeed, time seems scrambled, moving fast and slow together.’
    • ‘After scrambling her brain on joint custody, she has plunged into the maelstrom of superannuation rights for same sex couples.’
    • ‘We sat and watched the screen as it fizzed black and white shapes that during the course of the last three hours had scrambled my tiny mind.’
    • ‘For a second or two, my brain was totally scrambled.’
    • ‘Ultimately, unless his fever was reduced with intravenous liquids, it would scramble his brain like eggs in a frying pan.’
    • ‘She has a keen ear for the various mutations of hip-hop that fill clubs on both sides of the Atlantic, and she scrambles these styles in a way that sounds both fresh and inevitable.’
    • ‘In the journey of life, those hours spent scrambling your memory for all you can remember about Shakespeare, sonnets and seismology marks an important milestone.’
    • ‘The study fuelling the latest claims about mobile phones scrambling the mind in fact shows nothing of the kind.’
    • ‘I'm going to work today so I won't be able to idle away hours scrambling my brain with these issues.’
    • ‘Yes, I know I'm scrambling the metaphor, but it works for me so let's ignore it and move on.’
    • ‘I've spent a lot of time twisting the knobs, getting the mix almost right before going too far and scrambling the hues again.’
    • ‘Two years ago he went there for the Seniors Open with his emotions scrambled.’
    • ‘The film is not quite a confessional cry for help, but on some level it functions as scrambled autobiography.’
    • ‘It is a sometimes unfathomable loudness, so loud the brain just gives up on the ears, assuming the information they are sending is scrambled nonsense.’
    muddle, confuse, mix up, disarrange, disorganize, disorder, disturb, throw into disorder, throw into confusion, get into a tangle, mess up
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    1. 2.1Prepare (eggs) by beating them with a little liquid and then cooking and stirring them gently.
      • ‘In a separate bowl, beat eggs and prepared them to be scrambled.’
      • ‘Eggs, whether scrambled, poached or boiled, are popular with everyone.’
      • ‘Push everything to one side, and gently scramble the eggs in the same pan.’
      • ‘The eggs have to be softly scrambled, and cooked in butter.’
      • ‘This amazing new kitchen appliances perfectly scrambles an egg inside the shell.’
      • ‘A legacy from Italian colonial days is the frittata, made by scrambling eggs with onion and peppers.’
      • ‘She begins to scramble some eggs, when Steve comes up from the basement.’
      • ‘Usually, the only solution is soaking and scrubbing, which is why I scramble eggs only in non-stick pans.’
      • ‘He simply shrugged and hummed while scrambling some eggs on the hot plate.’
      • ‘It tastes great, whether you're making salad dressing or scrambling a few egg whites.’
      • ‘By the time I had begun frying the bacon and scrambling the eggs, my uncle had joined me in the kitchen.’
      • ‘I also roasted a delicata squash and loosely scrambled some pretty brown eggs, and then I ate very dark chocolate.’
      • ‘When my mom and dad came in a while later, I had the eggs scrambled and cooked to a nice golden brown.’
      • ‘Add the eggs and stir gently until softly scrambled.’
      • ‘He made breakfast for the two of them, keeping up a constant flow of chatter while he scrambled some eggs and pan-toasted a few slices of bread.’
      • ‘I actually think the offer of a kipper was just a bluff, and doubt that the ‘chef’ in those guest houses would've been able to scramble an egg.’
      • ‘After scrambling the eggs and buttering the toast, she divided it up on three plates, sliding one in front of Geoff and another in front of Rick.’
      • ‘For example, try storing uncracked eggs with truffles for a few days, then scramble the eggs.’
      • ‘I advised Caroline to replace her breakfast porridge with scrambled or poached egg and grilled tomatoes.’
    2. 2.2Make (a broadcast transmission, a telephone message, or electronic data) unintelligible unless received by an appropriate decoding device.
      ‘scrambled television signals’
      • ‘When we negotiate, our clients certainly want a program, which scrambles a signal so you can't copy it.’
      • ‘Use a secure browser - software that encrypts or scrambles information you send over the Internet - to guard the security of your online transactions.’
      • ‘He also said a weak signal could be scrambled and be undetected by another broadcaster.’
      • ‘The scrambled data can only be unlocked with passwords that you determine.’
      • ‘What we don't know is if NSA is able to crack PGP messages scrambled using 1024 character codes.’
      • ‘If he can't meet members of the JTTF face-to-face, he talks to them on a secure telephone that scrambles his conversations.’
      • ‘A song will be scrambled, and downloaded simply as raw, unintelligible data.’
      • ‘The basis of conditional access technology rests on scrambling and descrambling the pictures on your screen.’
      • ‘Voice data also arrives scrambled, but it's more complicated because of the real-time nature of VOIP.’
      • ‘All data in the payloads is scrambled, but framing bytes in the overhead consist of fixed data patterns and thus are not scrambled.’
      • ‘That could cause bits of information to disappear or become scrambled in transmission, and render the chip useless.’


  • 1A difficult or hurried clamber up or over something.

    ‘an undignified scramble over the wall’
    • ‘The next hour was a constant scramble through tangled trees, around in circles, and hiding behind bushes.’
    clamber, climb, ascent, trek
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    1. 1.1A walk up steep terrain involving the use of one's hands.
      • ‘From there it is a straightforward, if steep, scramble on a scree-covered footpath all the way to the summit.’
      • ‘Fine views gradually emerge of falls across the steep canyon, though don't try the hazardous scramble down to them.’
      • ‘That first ascent was a good scramble, with a little light rock climbing and much vertigo.’
      • ‘The choice of routes covers the full spectrum of climbing grades from difficult scrambles, to E8 multi-pitch climbs achievable only by those with Spiderman-like abilities.’
      • ‘The Askival Pinnacle can be climbed on its west side by a difficult scramble but can be avoided by a traverse on the east side of the ridge.’
      • ‘It's a quick scramble down from the summit to my skis.’
      • ‘A long, lingering snow patch gave a superb standing glissade back down to the col before the last scramble up to An Caisteal, the castle.’
      • ‘It involved a scramble over a scree pile, then a bit of free-climbing up a fissure in the granite.’
      • ‘A steeper, rocky scramble leads directly to the summit of Ben More at 966m.’
      • ‘This is passed by a delicate traverse on the left to a scramble down and final chimney, or else is laddered also to the left.’
      • ‘You can walk much of the 2-mile-long crack, formed thousands of years ago, but at times it's more of a scramble and a squeeze.’
      • ‘At the Hermitage they had a glorious scramble up the Mueller Glacier to Mount Ollivier on the Sealy Range before they cycled on to Wanaka, Cromwell and Dunedin.’
      • ‘It is a scramble, but it's not difficult and, if the crest is too airy for you, it's easy enough to trace a less exposed route on the east side of the ridge.’
      • ‘Crisp air, soaring mountain faces, a scramble up a chain ladder that took us up a short cliff face and then a walk across the summit plateau brought us to what felt like the lip of the world.’
      • ‘The walk up the river bed was more of a scramble, as it had rained overnight and the large, algae covered boulders were treacherous and slippery.’
      • ‘A rough scramble reaches the highest rock, the mountain's summit.’
      • ‘After a short scramble through impressive rock architecture, turn right over a slab to gain the summit of north peak, an airy viewpoint.’
      • ‘This delivers a scramble over boulders and down the backside of a fairly impressive granite dome.’
      • ‘The first is the scramble through the lakeshore rocks in the fog, where shadowy figures pop up and disappear before it can be determined who they are.’
      • ‘Together, they have scaled the stony scramble of Stirrup Crag at Yewbarrow, hit the heights of Helvellyn twice and negotiated the precarious pathway of Striding Edge.’
    2. 1.2An eager or uncontrolled and undignified struggle with others to obtain or achieve something.
      ‘a scramble for high-priced concert seats’
      • ‘The lesser lights realistically are hoping to lift support for their party, bearing in mind the post-election scramble to form a government.’
      • ‘The key is to offer candidates good reason to turn away from the scramble for corporate and private dollars.’
      • ‘The scramble for rail tickets began today, as eager passengers tried to secure scarce Christmas seats.’
      • ‘As even public universities become more privatized, the scramble for external funding wedges the two castes further apart.’
      • ‘As with test publishers, the scramble to boost revenues sometimes leads test-prep companies to violate ethical standards.’
      • ‘Again, if demand for rented accommodation slackens further, investors might high-tail it out of the market, pushing prices down in the scramble.’
      • ‘Yorkshire schools are resorting to poaching teachers from each other as a mad scramble to beat the shortages and fill vacancies in time for September begins.’
      • ‘There is a scramble - a modern gold rush - to patent as much of the genome as possible.’
      • ‘At one point water began flowing from the back of a firetruck and firefighters were seen making a mad scramble to turn off the supply.’
      • ‘The mad scramble for tickets is continuing in both counties with just over 26,000 allocated in Cork and Kilkenny.’
      • ‘Expect the scramble for cement, for lumber, for raw materials in the booming southeast to continue.’
      • ‘Now its dash to grab market share has turned into a scramble to sack workers.’
      • ‘They were unaware that a degraded environment leads to a scramble for scarce resources and may culminate in poverty and even war.’
      • ‘Doctors, social workers and people with HIV describe a desperate scramble to gain access to lifesaving medications.’
      • ‘A rise in the number of expensive private fitness centres in Scotland has led to an unprecedented scramble for customers.’
      • ‘Numerous human rights violations have been committed in the scramble for these riches.’
      • ‘A property tycoon has put an historic Scottish abbey up for auction for more than £1million, starting a scramble among local people to raise the cash.’
      • ‘I had to drop all four of them off, and it was a real scramble to get their shoes together and to get their homework material together, and to drop them off like that.’
      • ‘The war was a scramble for the control of the second largest oil reserves in the world and a move to establish its imperial hegemony.’
      • ‘Both sides embarked on an escalating public relations battle and a frantic scramble for the moral high ground.’
      struggle, hurry, rush, race, scurry
      tussle, jostle, scrimmage, scuffle, battle, struggle, free-for-all, competition, contention, vying, jockeying
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3An emergency takeoff by fighter aircraft.
  • 2A disordered mixture of things.

    ‘the program produced a scramble of the letters of the alphabet’
    • ‘Back in Dili the next day the confusion created by the scramble of so many players in the campaign is on show for all to see and hear.’
    • ‘On some pieces the letters are outlined, resulting in a jumbled scramble of dirty lines and tainted colour.’
    • ‘Pro-democracy politicians have put the best face they can on a confusing scramble to realign their election strategy in advance of the September Legco election.’


Late 16th century: imitative; compare with the dialect words scamble stumble and cramble crawl.