Definition of scratch in US English:



  • 1with object Score or mark the surface of (something) with a sharp or pointed object.

    ‘the car's paintwork was battered and scratched’
    no object ‘he scratched at a stain on his jacket’
    • ‘Never use abrasives on either anodized or painted surfaces as they will scratch it.’
    • ‘Let only the flat edge of the blade touch the surface to prevent scratching it.’
    • ‘In May vandals went on the rampage trashing cars in a spate of incidents on the estates, including smashing windows, slashing sunroofs, tyres and scratching paintwork.’
    • ‘When the businessman returned to his car, however, he found that one of the locals had taken a nail to it, badly scratching the paint.’
    • ‘How to clean leather with serious grease or oil stains without scratching the fabric is simple.’
    • ‘I check whether I'm still able to judge speed and distance accurately by making sure I can get my car key in the door lock without breaking it or scratching the paintwork.’
    • ‘On my return I found that my vehicle was scratched with what seems to be a very sharp instrument - perhaps a nail - from the front fender to the back tail gate.’
    • ‘He still had on some armor that covered his rather muscular physique, but it was scratched and dented pretty badly.’
    • ‘Blow or tip these shavings from your material at regular intervals: never use a brush as this could badly scratch your surface.’
    • ‘Don't try to remove it all by scraping or you will scratch the surfaces.’
    • ‘I'm not sure if it's the shipping, but our base was scratched pretty badly.’
    • ‘Early treatises advise rubbing the surface with garlic, but more usually the panel was scratched slightly to provide some tooth to which the paint can adhere.’
    • ‘Use a narrow wooden spatula or similar tool that won't scratch the wok's cooking surface.’
    • ‘Cases hitting the ground will inevitably pick up grit that can scratch the inside of the die and leave a mark on every case loaded.’
    • ‘Place a canvas drop cloth over the floor of the tub or shower to protect the surface from the sand-like grout that can scratch it.’
    • ‘When you rent DVDs, how on earth do you manage to scratch them up so badly?’
    • ‘He scratched a match across the surface of the table and lit his pipe.’
    • ‘As you can see in the picture below, a deliberate attempt to damage the mousing surface by scratching it with a key caused very little damage.’
    • ‘An unexpected sharp vibration can cause the head to crash onto the surface of the disk, gouging it like a phonograph needle can scratch a record.’
    • ‘The outside edges on my ring come to pretty sharp 90 degree angle and I've scratched a few windows including a car windshield with it.’
    score, abrade, scrape, roughen, scuff, scuff up, lacerate, groove, gash, engrave, incise, gouge
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Make a long, narrow superficial wound in the skin of.
      ‘her arms were scratched by the thorns’
      ‘I scratched myself on the tree’
      • ‘He dropped one hand and the one on her chin was drawn away with the nails toward her skin, so he scratched her slightly.’
      • ‘I am always stubbing my toe, smashing my arms against walls, tripping over, scratching myself.’
      • ‘She told me that, without any warning, the cat had jumped on her, scratched her, and bitten her in the right arm.’
      • ‘If your child cuts or scratches his or her skin, be sure to use soap and water to clean the area because open wounds are more susceptible to warts and other infections.’
      • ‘He has to wear tights on his legs and long sleeves on his arms on a hot Missouri day so he doesn't scratch himself.’
      • ‘He developed a facial infection after being scratched by a rose thorn.’
      • ‘A branch scratched him on the arm, ripping lightly into his flesh and a skimpy drop of blood came out.’
      • ‘The 44-year-old housekeeper alleged Campbell punched and scratched her face so badly she went to hospital.’
      • ‘His face was scratched and his robe was stained with crimson.’
      • ‘Wambach's skin had been scratched and bruised in several places.’
      • ‘Their hair was messy, their clothes were ripped, their skin was dirty and scratched, and their eyes were dulled by the expression of misery.’
      • ‘His face, arms and legs were badly scratched and his clothes were torn.’
      • ‘Other weeds, including sand bur and thistle, can also scratch and irritate your skin.’
      • ‘She showed no sign of caring that her slim boyish legs, encased in her elder brothers khaki shorts, were being scratched by the thorns of the roses that she skedaddled past.’
      • ‘The branches were scratching the two men's arms as they went through the woods, one dragging the other.’
      • ‘She sat down and looked to her arms, which had been bruised and scratched by the brush.’
      • ‘In a minor scuffle with a thief, the colleague is wounded when a fellow passenger scratches him accidentally.’
      • ‘I punched and kicked and even resulted in petty hair pulling while she wildly thrashed her arms trying to scratch me.’
      • ‘Curious, she looked at her arms, they too were scratched and bruised, but only slightly.’
      • ‘The black-haired boy looked as if he had died and come back to life - his lips were dry and cut, he had a black eye, and his cheek was scratched badly.’
      graze, scrape, abrade, rasp, skin, rub raw, cut, lacerate, bark, chafe, strip, flay, wound
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Rub (a part of one's body) with one's fingernails to relieve itching.
      ‘Jessica lifted her sunglasses and scratched her nose’
      • ‘I'm just scratching your back to make you feel more comfortable, " I explained.’
      • ‘Yawning, the teenage girl reached to scratch her neck, and felt the marks left there on her vein.’
      • ‘Huck itches all over and tries not to scratch himself so he doesn't make any noise.’
      • ‘He unfolded his arms, and the landlord flinched in terror, but the hradani merely scratched his chin thoughtfully.’
      • ‘‘Uh, yea,’ Mark said scratching the back of his neck and walking closer to me.’
      • ‘Mark scratched the back of his head, a sure sign he was trying to come up with something to say.’
      • ‘‘No,’ said I scratching my shoulder and looking over at Poppy, my most excellent beagle, who was trying to catch a bumble bee.’
      • ‘"Yeah, " Brandon nodded, absently scratching his ear.’
      • ‘The more you thought about not scratching it, the worse it itched.’
      • ‘Then it started on my face and some other parts of my body which you cannot scratch in public.’
      • ‘‘For the Love of Any Patron Saint that's in the area and available,’ said I, taking my hat off my head and scratching my forehead.’
      • ‘As he stood scratching his belly, dragging long sharp nails through the thin fur there, he decided that a simple favor was needed.’
      • ‘He just nodded and looked out the window while scratching his lower/inner arm.’
      • ‘But even though I've stopped scratching it, it still hasn't healed.’
      • ‘He could not walk, talk, lift his arms, feed himself or scratch himself.’
      • ‘I was itchy, but as soon as I would scratch my arms they would hurt like I had bruised them.’
      • ‘He is scratching his chin as he considers the question.’
      • ‘She relaxed a bit, and lightly scratched her chin.’
      • ‘‘All done,’ he said happily, scratching his nose and laving a grease stain on the tip of it.’
      • ‘My arms were around her waist, so I scratched her lower back softly.’
      rub, claw, claw at, scrape, tear at
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Make (a mark or hole) by scoring a surface with a sharp or pointed object.
      ‘I found two names scratched on one of the windowpanes’
      • ‘Most often, the entire presentation surface of a redware object was covered with white slip, and a design was then scratched into the surface.’
      • ‘Pictures of hunters were painted or scratched on cave walls all over the world.’
      • ‘A while ago, while in Northern Ireland, I saw someone had scratched the name INLA into the wood of a door in a stall.’
      • ‘She ran her hand against the steel plated walls and crouched down to see writings that had been scratched into the metal, probably with a knife.’
      • ‘A large red heart with the figure of a female nude scratched on the surface, was a favourite of his fiancée and was painted shortly after he met her.’
      • ‘Spread the fertilizer evenly around the plants and scratch it into the soil surface.’
      • ‘He scratched his name into the silica surface in a popular act of vandalism.’
      • ‘Each seal has a series of lines of varying orientations scratched into its inside surface.’
      • ‘Using a sharp instrument, Verster then draws and scratches patterns and images into this surface, revealing the strata of yellow beneath.’
      • ‘Engraving is done by scratching a drawing with a sharp tool on a metal sheet and then making a print from the scratched lines.’
      • ‘Returning on his own, he discovers a cellar scratched from the earth and covered with corrugated iron.’
      • ‘Jamali also paints on cork, mixing pigments and scratching imagery onto the surface with sticks and his fingernails.’
      • ‘After being air-dried, an awl or pointed stick could be used to scratch a simple design into the surface.’
      • ‘To determine whether the liposomes spread onto the DPPA surface as a monolayer or bilayer, a defect was scratched into the lipid surface.’
    4. 1.4 Write (something) hurriedly or awkwardly.
      ‘pass me my writing things—I'll scratch a few letters before I get up’
      • ‘She scratched out a note with a slightly shaky hand, folded it, and attached it to the leather straps tied to the skytyr's foot.’
      • ‘All it took was a few plays scratched out on Bowden's legal pad.’
      • ‘Andrew nodded, tore a page out of the sketch book in his pocket and scratched out his number with a stumpy pencil hooked in the books ring binder.’
      • ‘Then, driven by whatever strange spirit possesses them, they begin monitoring speed, distance and trajectory, scratching their findings into notebooks.’
      • ‘I grabbed a pen and scratched down ‘goodbye’ on a napkin.’
      • ‘Then one of us scratched out some notes, the other one picked it up and ran with it a few more paces and, in the fullness of time, an essay emerged.’
      • ‘In fury Beethoven scratched out the dedication at the betrayal of his ideals.’
      • ‘He scratched out his first poem while taking a break from failing a thermodynamics exam, on which he receive a nine out of a possible one hundred.’
      • ‘The entire bus ride, I scratched out the most scathing letter.’
      • ‘He went on marking things down on his clipboard, violently scratching a multitude of checks and notations onto the paper.’
      • ‘They love to crunch numbers and scratch out mock drafts on legal pads at work.’
      • ‘He held out the paper again, so I hurriedly scratched my name on his dotted line.’
      • ‘Hawksblade chuckled as he read the next line scratched out in ink.’
      • ‘Then the woman scratched out a note and placed it beneath the glass of water at his bedside.’
      • ‘Lissie looked down at the poem she'd been scratching down.’
      • ‘James watched as the good doctor scratched out a quick report on some looseleaf.’
      • ‘Yes, a dark-haired, humanly-dressed faerie was dragging the pen back and forth, scratching out words onto the paper.’
      • ‘Returning when she needed to the ink well, she scratched out her scribbling in a fine script that even the most cultured hand would envy.’
      • ‘Near the end of the book with its empty gaping pages and neat writing was a verse scratched out with red pen.’
      • ‘Every time I took a 20-minute break from the books, I scratched out a few lines of code.’
    5. 1.5 Remove (something) from something else by pulling a sharp implement over it.
      ‘he scratched away the plaster’
      • ‘No way did I want my eyes scratched out by those freshly manicured nails.’
      • ‘Cleanup crews watched in horror as otters scratched out their own eyes to rid them of oil.’
      • ‘The lines have been scratched out using a needle, on a canvas smeared with oil colours.’
    6. 1.6no object Make a rasping or grating noise by scraping something over a hard surface.
      ‘the dog scratched to be let in’
      ‘there was a sound of scratching behind the wall’
      • ‘It seemed to have been a bird scratching at her window.’
      • ‘The dogs, now deprived of their warm and huddled sleep at the foot of Matty's bed, spent the nights scratching and sniffing at the back door, whining to be let in.’
      • ‘Yes, something was behind the vent, scratching to get out.’
      • ‘There was a sound of claws scratching against stone, then a heavy thud.’
      • ‘Its huge feet and long legs kept up with her easily, its clawed hands were stretched out ready to grab her, scratching against the walls, making a spine shilling noise.’
      • ‘I wolfed it, famished, while cats scratched at gaps in the floorboards and invisible mice.’
      • ‘The dog scratched and padded around the place and pushed his dish across the kitchen floor tiles.’
      • ‘It really is quite remarkable the way in which those cute little white paws can convey such anger and indignation when they are scratching relentlessly on one's bedroom door.’
      • ‘Your cat scratches at the door after being fed.’
      • ‘If the fact that their kitten was scratching and meowing to come into my place is anything to go by, it's not pretty.’
      • ‘She scratches at the wall but it doesn't sound the same.’
      • ‘Activists did not consider it Scottish enough and chose a new logo featuring a lion apparently scratching at a red door.’
      • ‘While assassins approached the tent, Pompey began barking and scratching to warn his master, finally jumping on William's face to wake him.’
      • ‘On the deck below Maria heard the poor dog scratching at the wooden planks anxiously.’
      • ‘His fingernails scraped, scratched at the doorknob with urgency.’
      • ‘One extremely large creature traveled up inside the wall, and took up residence directly over our bed, scratching and keeping us awake each night.’
      • ‘A dog howled at the door and then started scratching furiously at the door, as a screeching grew louder.’
      • ‘Down here is all darkness, the only sound the slur of rain in the dirt, water rats scratching inside the walls.’
      • ‘If the cat is scratching at the door and meowing to be let out, just ignore him.’
      • ‘We heard scratching behind the kitchen units three nights ago.’
    7. 1.7no object (of a bird or mammal, especially a chicken) rake the ground with the beak or claws in search of food.
      • ‘As they talked, one of his chickens scratched up a coin that the young Swede recognised (so he says) as bearing the head of the Emperor Augustus.’
      • ‘She could here the birds scratching at the ground outside her tent, the leaves on on the tree by the door blowing in the brisk wind.’
      • ‘They can scratch in the ground and eat seeds and bugs as well as their regular chicken feed.’
      • ‘These birds didn't even scratch the ground for food, practicing normal foraging behavior.’
      • ‘Typically feeding on the ground, they uncover food by scratching with their feet or digging with their bills.’
      • ‘Chickens scratched in the company of a stately, gruff-voiced, very respectable pig, rooting under a walnut tree.’
      • ‘When it hatched, it grew up like other chickens, picking and scratching for food.’
      • ‘The man still thinks in terms of animal manure and chickens scratching in the yard.’
      • ‘She lowered her head and scratched in the dirt with her horn.’
      • ‘Several chickens scratched about outside what appeared to be a chicken coop.’
      • ‘The only things living were a sow, her piglets, and some hens scratching in the dirt.’
      • ‘In the chiaroscuro of this place of offering, figured with the wax and soot of burned candles, a chicken scratches near a sacrificial stone.’
      • ‘Ideally they would have a movable coup or ark that can be put on a patch of soil where the birds will scratch around eating every pest, as well as most weeds - and also fertilising the soil.’
      • ‘Throwing scratch grain around will get the hens scratching, which will fluff up the bedding and keep it well mixed.’
      • ‘Hens enjoy scratching, preening and dustbathing and the deep straw covered floor encourages these social activities.’
      • ‘People are bargaining, arguing, gossiping; dogs are bickering, chickens scratching in the dirt.’
      • ‘I looked at a few hens scratching in the grit at the hut's door.’
      • ‘You'll feel a smug warmth every time you pass a broiler chicken house and think of your own happy, healthy poultry scratching in the dust at home.’
      • ‘By the halfway mark of our stay, I took to wandering down to the stables to count the remaining ducks scratching around in the straw and ensure there was no danger of a supply crisis before we left.’
    8. 1.8 Accomplish (something) with great effort or difficulty.
      ‘he scratches out a living growing strawberries’
      • ‘The rare few that still survived clung on at the edge of society, scratching a living from what little they could find in their woodland domains.’
      • ‘I know they've scratched out two wins in a row, but we feel confident in ourselves.’
      • ‘Residents scratch out a living amid blocks of abandoned, boarded up, burned-out row houses and vacant warehouses.’
      • ‘The Mariners and the Tigers scratch out their runs with bunts, strings of hits and a willingness to move the runners.’
      • ‘Oldham continue to scratch out wins - can they keep it going all season or will their luck change?’
      • ‘Now it's six years later and he is scratching a living predicting sports results.’
      • ‘Fifty per cent of Madagascar's population earn less than one US dollar per year, scratching a living from the parched red earth or feeding themselves by fishing.’
      • ‘The Redskins have been in the play-offs just once since Gibbs left and have scratched out one winning season since 1997.’
      • ‘Gradually the West Mayo team got a foothold and they scratched out three points before the break to give themselves a chance.’
      • ‘He may not have felt so desperate if poverty hadn't forced him into exile: illegal, paralysed, scratching a living for the smallest slice of pie.’
      • ‘As late as the 1850s, people scratched out a bare existence by soaking up surface oil from springs around Oil Creek in Pennsylvania.’
      • ‘The band still had to deal with the problem of coming off the payroll and switching from playing large venues to rolling round the club circuit, scratching a living.’
      • ‘The general impression one gets is that Morse accepts the persistent stereotype of the solitary miner scratching out a meager existence largely on his own.’
      • ‘Keep the Twins close and hope their teammates scratch out enough runs to win.’
      • ‘From nowhere, she started scratching out a reasonable living.’
      • ‘Hendley held out hope the rest of the night that the Cubs might scratch out a run, but saw those hopes diminish rapidly as Koufax got stronger and stronger.’
      • ‘Failing to scratch out a run against a starter such as Kip Wells is much different than what happened Sunday.’
      • ‘Only if you were born and brought up unbeknown to the world in the darkness of deepest Dalby Forest, scratching a living from the land would you be truly a non-person.’
      • ‘Many cities were said to be turning into ghost towns, with some five to seven million people living precariously on the breadline, scratching out an existence from one day to the next.’
      • ‘We think that our people were made for better things than scratching a living from tourism.’
      scrape, scratch, scrimp
      View synonyms
  • 2with object Cancel or strike out (writing) with a pen or pencil.

    ‘the name of Dr. McNab was scratched out and that of Dr. Daniels substituted’
    • ‘The rest I put back into their boxes, scratched out my address and replaced it with theirs, and sent them off.’
    • ‘Later, when they checked his wallet, they found that he had scratched out his address in his passport and any other details that would have helped them contact his family.’
    • ‘Underneath, ineptly scratched out, three telltale words are still discernible: ‘Made in Taiwan’.’
    • ‘I furiously scratched out what I had just written in the notebook, and replaced it with more than just a few malicious thoughts.’
    • ‘I scoffed as Cale jotted down one line beneath the twenty scratched out ones.’
    • ‘I borrowed the nametag keeper's pen and scratched out as much of the name on the tag as I could, attempting to replace it with my actual, real name.’
    • ‘She - I assumed it was a she - had scratched out the original name and put her own name in its place.’
    • ‘Forthworth took a pen out of his pocket, and scratched out the part about sustaining life.’
    • ‘Nerissa shrugged in return as she scratched out whatever it had been that she'd been drawing.’
    • ‘The postcard itself has a postmark from 1958 and has some writing on it which is still visible, even though violently scratched out.’
    • ‘This guy then scratched out his name on the script and put down his girlfriend's name.’
    • ‘She scratched out that box and ticked the third one as the more accurate.’
    • ‘Someone, however, scratched out ‘Briefing Room’ with a large black marker.’
    • ‘It had over a dozen different words written on it and all were scratched out except for the last.’
    • ‘Her name had been scratched out and all the evidence of her reign was deposited in one location.’
    • ‘It's full of marks and words that are scratched out here and there.’
    • ‘This really was not a document that could be just quickly scratched out and rewritten.’
    • ‘He scratched out the notes on the paper he had made and began to write new ones.’
    • ‘Possessed only of his passport, from which he scratched out his home address, Kahn remained unidentified for several days in the city morgue.’
    • ‘It is an explanation consistent with the typing of his name on the deed only to be scratched out and Adam's name written in.’
    cross out, strike out, score out, delete, erase, remove, strike off, eliminate, cancel, expunge, obliterate
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Withdraw (a competitor) from a competition.
      ‘Oswald's Zephyr was the second horse to be scratched from a race today’
      • ‘Failure to play before the deadline may result in both players being scratched from the competition without notice.’
      • ‘The club can afford to be careful with RHP Jason Schmidt, who was scratched from his start Sunday because of elbow tendinitis.’
      • ‘Wells suffered a strained left groin muscle during a May 23 start at Toronto and was scratched from his next outing.’
      • ‘Garcia was scratched from Sunday's lineup due to the injuries he sustained on his left hand, but will be available later in the series.’
      • ‘Subsequent bulletins were upbeat but a muscle problem would not dissipate and, a further ten days later, Yeats was scratched from the Derby.’
      • ‘McKee thought he would play in the next game, but Ruff scratched him again.’
      • ‘Two of the original four West Virginia-breds were scratched from the event.’
      • ‘Last year French was banned from racing for two years and scratched from Olympic competition for life.’
      • ‘Shine Again is a half sister to four-year-old Shiny Band, who was scratched from the First Flight.’
      • ‘Speedy Punta, a six-year-old gelding by Punta Arenas, was tested on course and scratched from his intended race.’
      • ‘Injuries have played a part - he was scratched from a start earlier this week with a sore right shoulder.’
      • ‘She was scratched out of Friday's Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill in favor of Saturday's race.’
      • ‘The match was abandoned, Palmeiras-B was scratched from the tournament by IFA and the title went to the city giant.’
      • ‘The German was branded a cheat and scratched from that year's drivers' championship for unsportsmanlike conduct.’
      • ‘Jeter was the starter in last year's All-Star Game at Turner Field, but only because Rodriguez had to be scratched from the game due to injury.’
      • ‘Alabama Stakes winner Island Fashion was one of five fillies scratched from the race.’
      • ‘He was scratched from the lineup yesterday and was walking stiffly as the result of having his neck and back taped up.’
      • ‘May was able to pitch but was scratched because of a renewed muscle tweak.’
      • ‘Some will be scratched; others will play through the pain.’
      • ‘The committee have decided that players who have not played the games by that date will be automatically scratched from the competition.’
      withdraw, pull out, pull out of, back out, back out of, bow out, bow out of, stand down, give up, leave, quit
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2no object (of a competitor) withdraw from a competition.
      ‘due to a knee injury she was forced to scratch from the race’
      • ‘Only seven older fillies and mares contested the Eatontown after six entrants scratched from the race, run over a soft turf course.’
      • ‘Both silver medalists at the Athens Olympics have had to scratch from their event.’
      • ‘Only four of the original 15 entrants scratched out of the race, which was contested over a muddy track.’
      • ‘He scratched too from an exhibition match after the ladies final of the US Open.’
      • ‘He advanced to the semi-finals in the former and to the finals in the latter, then scratched from both events in order to focus on other upcoming swims.’
    3. 2.3 Cancel or abandon (an undertaking or project)
      ‘the original filming schedule has been scratched’
      • ‘Actually, scratch that, it sounds too much like we live in a lost and found shoebox.’
      • ‘York RI will also play a fixture originally scratched because of poor weather when they travel to Northallerton in Yorkshire Three.’
      • ‘Oh wait scratch that I do plan ahead.’
      • ‘Wednesday's launch was scratched because of a reading of low current from a battery system on the rocket's second stage.’
      call off, abandon, scrap, drop
      View synonyms
  • 3often as noun scratchingno object Play a record using the scratch technique.

    ‘the practices of rap and scratching’
    See scratch (sense 1 of the noun)
    • ‘She lets each song breathe, adding in conga solos, DJ scratching and trumpets from her tightly synched seven-member band.’
    • ‘Young people are invited to attend workshops and master classes in everything from graffiti art to hip-hop and urban dance to scratching and break dancing.’
    • ‘Beginning with DJ Olive's wavering synthetic tones, shouts, drums and scratching follow to form a sonic melee with an appreciable sense of forward motion.’
    • ‘When I work with Obscure, I try to think of what can be done with scratching on this record that hasn't been done before.’
    • ‘While the concept is a good one, Swift over-emphasizes breaks and scratching at the expense of vocals and harmonies.’
    • ‘The combo of bongo drums and some sharp scratching from DJ Kilmore was pretty impressive.’
    • ‘Shakespearean rhyming couplets have been adapted for rap with an on-stage DJ scratching, beatboxing and grooving right along with the performers.’
    • ‘Instead, Teeba does his talking with his turntables, scratching with great dexterity and impeccable rhythmic flair.’
    • ‘In fact, there is more scratching on this CD than on any I have heard in recent years.’
    • ‘The group's music policy is a mixture of funk, hip hop and 80s disco blended with scratching and a touch of Latin, house and techno.’
    • ‘The act consists of three men dressed in tails and armed with violins bow in synch with turntable scratching.’
    • ‘I was also mesmerised by scratching once I got decks at 17, so I was just away in my room experimenting.’
    • ‘It's got scratching, it's got acoustic guitars.’
    • ‘It was using a sample that sounded somewhere between vinyl scratching and cool drum beats.’
    • ‘The Tory leader had a go at scratching and mixing on record decks when he visited the Fusion Project to talk to young people.’
    • ‘The album, which mixes rap lyrics, hip-hop beats, scratching, samples and live guitar, is now available to local people.’
    • ‘Photography became the snapshot and photo album; newspapers became fuel for fanzines, and the vinyl record became a tool for scratching and sampling.’
    • ‘If your composition involves scratching and sampling, all to the good.’
    • ‘I'm chopping up and scratching more - it's like I'm a new DJ again.’
    • ‘Much has been made of his ability to make his toggle switch sound like a DJ scratching.’


  • 1A mark or wound made by scratching.

    ‘the scratches on her arm were throbbing’
    as modifier ‘scratch marks on the door’
    • ‘This speed assures elimination of swirl marks and scratches in the wood.’
    • ‘His black shirt was torn, leaving her with a good look at his chest, filled with scratches and wounds.’
    • ‘With scratches and flaws marking up the picture, I'm sad to report that this picture is sub-par.’
    • ‘Traditional machines have individual grinding heads that travel in their own radius, leaving scratches or permanent marks.’
    • ‘We had to apply it liberally on all wounds, even minor scratches and mosquito bites.’
    • ‘The black scuff marks and smaller scratches left last Friday night don't bother me as much - they're merely cosmetic.’
    • ‘Her fingers brushed against the smooth glass of the jewel and she withdrew it, carefully inspecting it for chips or scratches.’
    • ‘Notice the puncture marks, scratches and big gash all the way to the lower right’
    • ‘Which card is more likely to be marked by nicks and scratches on its edges?’
    • ‘Jodi had several scratches on her arms and, Vaughn assumed, on her legs as well.’
    • ‘Conjunctivitis may also occur due to allergies or from a scratch on the surface of the eye.’
    • ‘Any scratch, dent or mark, however little, is taken note of and fixed.’
    • ‘The films are not well preserved, so there are plenty of scratches and burn marks, and dirt on the prints.’
    • ‘These scratch marks, which resemble fine brown hairs, are always located on the upper third of the flower.’
    • ‘If the flooring has spillage marks or deep scratches then get these attended to as quickly as possible.’
    • ‘Her arms were covered in scratches and there was one extremely deep one that was still seeping some blood.’
    • ‘Scratch marks will usually go away one or two weeks after treatment.’
    • ‘He assured me that no-one will ever notice the small scratch mark he was able to make.’
    • ‘Because granite is melted rock, it has uniform properties, which makes it quite hard and resistant to scratches.’
    • ‘My knees were bruised from tripping, and my arms and legs had scratches from tree branches that reached as far as they could to grab travelers.’
    score, mark, line, abrasion, scrape, scuff, laceration, groove, gash, gouge
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1informal in singular A slight or insignificant wound or injury.
      ‘it's nothing—just a scratch’
      • ‘The plan was to find her and bring her back without a scratch.’
      • ‘I spent a year in Vietnam and came home without a scratch.’
      • ‘Fry emerged from the incident without a scratch, but the concussion of the explosion was felt some 2,000 feet away, at the starting line.’
      • ‘He got out of it without a scratch, but the car was totalled, and it was a hundred and something thousand dollars worth of car.’
      • ‘The newspapers were filled with images of people buried in rubble, yet walking away without a scratch.’
      • ‘Have you ever been in an accident where you should've been hurt, even killed- and came out with only small injuries, or without a scratch?’
      • ‘But if I'd had to, I could have driven three times that long and gotten both of us out of there without a scratch.’
      • ‘However, people in movies routinely jump through plate glass windows without receiving a single scratch.’
      • ‘My husband and daughter died instantly, but the truck driver came out without a scratch.’
      • ‘The men advance towards her and she single-handedly knocks all of them to the ground escaping without a scratch.’
      • ‘She told them she was fine; that she'd only gotten a scratch.’
      • ‘A driver who escaped without a scratch when his car plunged 50 feet down a moorland ravine has told of his amazing escape.’
      • ‘Thankfully this man was apprehended safely and all the officers were able to walk away without a scratch.’
      • ‘In fact, he leaves the accident without a scratch on him.’
      • ‘Not too many people have their motorcycles ripped out from under them at 65 mph, in heavy traffic, and escape without a scratch.’
      • ‘He later crashed one of his planes at Victoria River Downs Station but walked away from it without a scratch.’
      • ‘Dozens of rounds of ammo, bombs and even cannonballs are fired at the trio, yet don't produce one scratch.’
      • ‘Year after year, however, millions of people enjoy themselves outdoors and return home without a scratch.’
      • ‘She then proceeded to spend a homeless night in strange surroundings out in the cold before being found, without a scratch on her, by her worried owners.’
      • ‘In the fight with the police officer, Will, he had gotten hurt more than a slight bit while Will didn't have a scratch on him.’
      graze, scrape, abrasion, cut, laceration, wound
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2in singular An act or spell of scratching oneself to relieve itching.
      ‘he gave his scalp a good scratch’
      • ‘I gave Wilma one last scratch behind the ear, and I ran downstairs.’
      • ‘Truman meowed again and accepted the offered scratch behind the ears with great appreciation.’
      • ‘I picked up the paper clip as my mind told me ‘Just one little scratch wont hurt.’’
      • ‘His tweed cap was removed only occasionally, and only long enough for a frustrated head scratch.’
      • ‘She joked, reaching down to give the beast a scratch behind the ears.’
      • ‘The women resume their conversation and the dogs, no longer interested in each other have a scratch or look for more interesting smells to divert their attention.’
      • ‘When you've got an itch on your back you'll do anything for a scratch and there's not much in the ocean to rub against.’
    3. 1.3 A rasping or grating noise produced by something rubbing against a hard surface.
      ‘the scratch of a match lighting a cigarette’
      • ‘George on the camera is a genius and Frank on sound could make a chalk scratch on a blackboard sound like music.’
      • ‘She was still holding the book and just staring at it when a scratch sounded at the door.’
      • ‘She crawled back into bed when she heard a scratch at her bedroom door.’
      • ‘The same answer came and the scratch of a pen followed.’
      • ‘He could hear the scratch of her pencil, and the air moving past the car.’
      • ‘The only other noises were the scratches of the rats claws as they helped themselves to whatever was stored in their sanctuary.’
      • ‘Beeps, clicks and scratches run underneath - and alongside - strings, stand-up bass and a variety of percussion.’
      • ‘Embedded within Pole's framework of clicks, snaps and scratches are subtle yet absorbing layers of sound.’
      • ‘A few moments later I heard the scratch of a match against a striker, then smelled the sweet acrid aroma of marijuana.’
      • ‘Acoustic and seismic listening device: extremely sensitive tool which can hear the slightest tap or scratch of a trapped person.’
      • ‘A moment later we heard the unmistakable scratch of the front door closing, and the quiet start of an engine.’
      • ‘Maybe it was fifteen minutes later when the scratch at the flimsy door disturbed us.’
      • ‘There was a scratch at the door and the butler announced another visitor.’
      • ‘I then heard the scratch of a match against its box.’
      • ‘You need the right song to remix because there are certain ones that aren't constructed to add bleeps, scratches or a constant thumping bass line.’
      • ‘On the recording, however, I keep hearing the surreptitious scratch of a lighter.’
      • ‘The last ten minutes were silent broken only by the scratch of a pencil.’
      • ‘First came the sound of voices outside, a familiar chitter of laughter, then the scratch at the door.’
      • ‘It was just a scratch on the door, a muffled noise, and a little flashlight waving at the end of the hall.’
      grate, grating, creak, creaking, grind, grinding, jar, jarring, rasp, rasping, scratching, rub, rubbing, squeak, squeaking, screech, screeching
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 A rough hiss, caused by the friction of the stylus in the groove, heard when a record is played.
      • ‘Yes, they were free from the scratches, clicks and pops that plagued records, but otherwise perfect they weren't.’
      • ‘For all that we now quest for absolute fidelity in recordings, I like the comforting scratch of an old record.’
      • ‘The scratches and surface noise of Jeck's vinyl further emphasise this notion.’
      • ‘The sound quality is fine, much as it was on the original LPs - minus the surface noise and scratches, however.’
  • 2A technique, used especially in rap music, of stopping a record by hand and moving it back and forth to give a rhythmic scratching effect.

    • ‘Do you find it hard to beat juggle and scratch as opposed to blending the records to entertain the crowds?’
    • ‘Anyone acquainted with the world of the scratch DJ will understand that it is manly in the way that Hobbyland is manly.’
    • ‘Talented DJ's have their own style and Q-Bert is a scratch DJ.’
    • ‘Many amazing comments come from a remarkably sane Genesis P-Orridge while Carl Craig sums up turntablism perfectly as Kid Koala gets his scratch on.’
    • ‘With the scratch specialist Picklez gone, there opened a vacancy for the world's top turntablist crew.’
    • ‘He turns up the volume as far as it will go and drags his nail over the microphone, pushing the medium to its limits with a sort of scratch sound.’
    • ‘No need to say a little prayer for local hip hop DJ and scratch vet Raf Kerwin, aka D.R. One, because he's doing just fine on his own.’
    • ‘Julie is not just a DJ, but a scratch DJ.’
    • ‘I know every single scratch, every beat, every scream from the crowd.’
    • ‘Jill Scott opens the disc, crooning over a hip-hop bassline and vinyl scratches.’
    • ‘There's also rock, funk and turntable scratches thrown in for good measure.’
    • ‘From the first scratch to the last, this album is dope.’
    • ‘Joining them as musical director is local scratch wizard DJ Pocket, who provides a wide mash of musical styles and obscure sounds.’
    • ‘With an intro that's absolute insane scratch work, Flow maintains a feverish and surprisingly melodic tempo throughout the set.’
    • ‘Hip Hop and Jazz tunes were superbly mixed with turntable scratch and an infectious piano line that dictate the film's progression.’
    • ‘Many of the songs are laced with clever hip hop asides and contain every conceivable type of bleep, scratch and vocal distortion known to nu-metal man.’
  • 3The starting point in a handicap for a competitor receiving no odds.

    • ‘Faced with having to give them a head-start of 7, he called it evens and had them starting at scratch instead.’
    • ‘Start and scratch is 6.45 pm, with venues to be announced at a later date.’
    1. 3.1Golf A handicap of zero, indicating that a player is good enough to achieve par on a course.
      • ‘Little Amy, 13, who receives England ‘birdie’ training, wants to get down to scratch.’
      • ‘I aim to get my handicap down to scratch by the end of next year.’
      • ‘The others are to play for the county girls and seniors and get my handicap down from six to scratch.’
      • ‘He went part-time at Springfield Park, where he works in the shop, to concentrate on his game and has reduced his ranking to scratch.’
      • ‘But having reached a handicap of scratch by the age of 16, the US college student decided his future lay on the fairways and not the football park.’
  • 4informal Money.

    ‘he was working to get some scratch together’
    • ‘The upside is that with so much freelance work crammed into a short amount of time, it will bring in a fair amount of scratch.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, the good mayor's policy of using municipal scratch to buy staff birthday goodies and Christmas presents has also faded into the tundra.’
    • ‘The film debut was still a bright spot this weekend and the film will likely sweep up some decent scratch over the coming weeks.’
    • ‘As for material resources, some bloggers are now able to earn some scratch, but this is an effect rather than a cause of their success.’
    • ‘Many owners suspect, of course, that as the refs demand full-time wages, their true plan is to take the added scratch and keep the other jobs anyway.’
    • ‘A guy could have quite the weekend in Vegas with that kind of scratch.’
    • ‘The film makes it very clear that, without some scratch, there is no influence and very little indiscriminate sex.’
    • ‘I'm a grad student right now, so I don't have a lot of scratch to work with.’
    • ‘By '99 they saved up enough scratch to record a full-length album, Rock and Roll Port Three.’
    • ‘I've done some columns, I've had some freelance gigs, and Smith has gotten me some scratch working for the Internet site.’
    • ‘The singer plans to make some serious scratch overseas doing promotional work.’
    cash, hard cash, ready money
    View synonyms


  • 1Assembled or made from whatever is available, and so unlikely to be of the highest quality.

    ‘at least two vessels set sail with scratch crews’
    • ‘After a blistering start, the scratch group of riders caught the rest of the field with two laps to go.’
    • ‘The UK's greatest scratch DJ crew will bring two hours of the finest UK and US hip hop with incredible turntable skills.’
    • ‘As a lad in Clifton in York, others recalled how he had insisted everyone wore white for scratch cricket matches.’
    • ‘Bath took the game to the Italians with a scratch squad and did so with such determination that there was never any argument about this result.’
    • ‘A scratch crew from the rest of current affairs had to do the job instead.’
    • ‘Glass was taking courses at KU, so he joined a scratch league at the student union.’
    • ‘There followed a scurry round to assemble a scratch team, kit them up, organise travel arrangements etc.’
    • ‘As a result of a threatened boycott by the former dictator's defence team, the trial may have to take place with a scratch team of lawyers appointed by the court itself.’
    • ‘An allconquering Trinity side from the 1970s is to be pitted against a scratch team of young hopefuls.’
    • ‘He is, he says, not remotely put off by the ease with which a scratch side with ‘no gameplan and a smattering of hangovers’ dismantled Scotland on Thursday night.’
    • ‘Lown bowls weekly in a scratch league at the Gold Coast in Las Vegas and carried a 189 average last season.’
    • ‘And then he did it again, leading the scratch platoon he had formed on to its objective.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, however, the year 2000 saw the demise of what has been known as the most influential scratch crew ever.’
    • ‘Captain Phillips was not aboard for her last voyage in 1984, which was with a scratch crew taking her to be scrapped.’
    • ‘With the pitch already booked but no one to play, word reached the Lashings pub, where a scratch team was hastily put together among staff and regulars.’
    • ‘Bringing up the rear of the field was scratch man John Pearson.’
  • 2(of a sports competitor or event) with no handicap given.

    • ‘How difficult, while still being fair, is the course for the scratch player from the back tees?’
    • ‘But look at the difference between a 9-handicapper and a scratch golfer.’
    • ‘Other notables were Mick, who talked the golf crew through 18 holes of scratch golf.’
    • ‘Some of us may never be able to hit the ball as accurately, powerfully or consistently as a scratch player, but with work, we can realistically hope to putt like one.’
    • ‘There is a massive difference between being a scratch golfer at home and playing the difficult courses from the back tees!’
    • ‘She knows if it wasn't for the support of her parents she would not be a scratch golfer now contemplating the possibility of turning professional.’
    • ‘But it's his sense of humour that shines through, and he brings that to the very serious world of scratch masters.’
    • ‘She joined Clitheroe Golf Club at the age of eight and became a scratch golfer three weeks after her 16th birthday.’
    • ‘It doesn't matter if you're a duffer or a scratch golfer, there are a wide variety of courses with unique layouts and challenges for golfers of all skill levels.’
    • ‘He was also an avid golfer and as long as most can remember was close to being a scratch player.’
    • ‘I never ever did beat Jonno off a scratch event, but Harry used to make sure that Jon always gave me a start and I'd get the best out of myself by trying to stay in front.’
    • ‘Although the event is scratch matchplay, Air Force golfers on handicaps up to 18 are encouraged to nominate.’
    • ‘Ludwell went on to become a scratch golfer and made many appearances for Yorkshire.’
    • ‘He has won most of the honours that the game has to offer and in his prime was almost a scratch player.’
    • ‘I won't get the benefit of those eighteen shots because it is a scratch event but at least I could make an attempt at qualifying.’
    • ‘Paul, who is already a scratch golfer, is the grandson of well-known Newbridge man Tommy O Hanlon.’
    • ‘On Sunday a minor/intermediate scratch cup takes place.’
    • ‘Lount, who has been a member at Pike Hills for eight years and first played in the Yorkshire Order of Merit in 2002, is now a scratch golfer but has no plans to turn professional.’
    • ‘A scratch golfer who mixes freely with professionals in that game, McGwire is a good judge of what he sees and hears around the circuit.’
    • ‘He was a scratch player at 12 and had a stellar international record as an amateur.’


  • from scratch

    • From the very beginning, especially without utilizing or relying on any previous work for assistance.

      ‘he built his own computer company from scratch’
      • ‘It is a direct reversal of the previous policy where SAS would build its own tools from scratch.’
      • ‘The two of them wrote the show from scratch, ensured they got all the best lines and threw in deft ad-libs as required.’
      • ‘Erase everything on the computer's hard drive and start over from scratch.’
      • ‘Mr Khan built up his company from scratch and now employs more than 20 people.’
      • ‘Native programmers are used to support or maintain current systems, not to produce new ones from scratch.’
      • ‘The idea is to start from scratch and make the best use of the site.’
      • ‘This would give it a cheaper entry to the market, although it would have to start from scratch in building a customer base.’
      • ‘I have never had any general fight training, so each time I have to wield a weapon I start from scratch.’
      • ‘They tested the time it took to mix a cake from a packet and from scratch and the home baked one took only 10 minutes longer.’
      • ‘It takes three years for a farmer to develop a bamboo plantation from scratch.’
  • scratch a — and find a —

    • Used to suggest that an investigation of someone or something soon reveals their true nature.

      ‘he had been taught to believe “scratch a pious man and find a hypocrite.”’
  • scratch one's head

    • 1informal Think hard in order to find a solution to something.

      • ‘When next we head to the polls, I may find myself scratching my head in search of a political party that might be worthy of my support.’
      • ‘The shop is not selling the album until staff have a better idea of what they've got, but it's not the first time they've found themselves scratching their heads over a potential vinyl windfall.’
      • ‘I spent a few hours scratching my head and looking for a cryptic code which might shed light on where this maverick genius is getting his ideas from.’
      • ‘Purists in the audience were observed scratching their heads, trying to figure out a way to appreciate the ‘exotic’ composition.’
      • ‘You're probably scratching your head even harder wondering why Merrill Lynch is talking about the impact that acquiring Red Hat may or may not have on Sun.’
      • ‘The first big betting race of the year come our way this weekend when the Pierse Hurdle will again draw a big field and have punters scratching their heads to find the winner.’
      • ‘Still scratching your head over holiday gift ideas for that special someone on your list?’
      • ‘A greedy otter has left a Preston grandfather scratching his head for a solution to stop the animal slinking into his pond to eat his fish.’
      • ‘After scratching my head for a bit I realized when she wrote site your sources, what she really meant was ‘Please write the title of Samuel Seabury's pamphlet when you refer to it.’’
      • ‘Local school board members in Charlotte County are left scratching their heads, wondering how they will fit the class into an already full day.’
      think hard, put one's mind to something, give much thought to something, concentrate, try to remember, puzzle over something, cudgel one's brains, furrow one's brow
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Feel or express bewilderment.
        • ‘But sometimes, you're just left scratching your head.’
        • ‘If this leaves you scratching your head, you're not the first.’
        • ‘But in a lapse that has some people scratching their heads, it failed to budget for any aid to Afghanistan in this year's spending plans.’
        • ‘Three decades later, we are still scratching our heads.’
        • ‘It all moves along pretty fast, and with no track listing to speak of, don't be surprised in the least if you find yourself scratching your head.’
        • ‘He must be scratching his head in bewilderment.’
        • ‘Despite being a hamlet for more than 100 years, Tiddleywink has been omitted from maps and postmen are frequently left scratching their heads in confusion as to where it is.’
        • ‘Here it is, the story that had all of us scratching our heads and made everyone in the newsroom say, ‘What The?’’
        • ‘A word of warning watching this film: don't take your eyes off it for a moment or you'll be left scratching your head.’
        • ‘Quit scratching your heads and wondering who he was.’
        struggle mentally, be out of one's depth, be in the dark, have difficulty, be confounded, be confused, be dumbfounded
        View synonyms
  • scratch the surface

    • 1Deal with a matter only in the most superficial way.

      ‘research has only scratched the surface of the paranormal’
      • ‘In the space allotted for this article, I can scratch only the surface of each profiled editor.’
      • ‘The U.N. has introduced a new mechanism for Afghanistan to deal with this latter problem, but it only scratches the surface of what is really required.’
      • ‘Yet even as he was speaking, aid agencies were warning the deal would only scratch the surface.’
      • ‘Yet, so far, it seems Stanford has only begun to scratch the surface in terms of its programmatic and curricular activities on matters Indian.’
      • ‘As a matter of fact, most so called health nuts don't even scratch the surface of healthy living anyway, no matter how much they can bench press.’
      • ‘Without an understanding of the experiential learning process, the surface of knowledge and learning are only scratched.’
      • ‘If I well understood the spirit of the article, both Romanians and Bulgarians should go deeper than scratching on surface in knowing each other.’
      • ‘Having been here only 9 months I am still only scratching the surface and finding many delights are hidden below the superficial facade.’
      • ‘We are only scratching the surface by helping these 350 tortoises, but it is far better that they are in experienced hands than in the hands of smugglers.’
      • ‘This is only scratching the surface - there are literally hundreds more one could list, but these are some of the ones I deem most significant for the reasons given.’
    • 2Initiate the briefest investigation to discover something concealed.

      ‘they have a boring image but scratch the surface and it's fascinating’
      • ‘It is obvious that this figure only scratches the surface of movie piracy when a five year old can download the latest Teletubbies movie over the Internet.’
      • ‘Over all the years, science has made more and more discoveries - yet still hasn't scratched the surface of nature's wonders.’
      • ‘Miller said: ‘We haven't even scratched the surface of what we can do with an ear of corn.’’
      • ‘Just double underline that we are still scratching the surface, we have a long way to go.’
      • ‘Now police fear the investigation has only scratched at the surface of the problem.’
      • ‘As reporters, journalists in Australia and England and I were to detail over the next year, that initial series only scratched the surface.’
      • ‘He felt that he wasn't even scratching the surface of animal trafficking, which is why he decided to join forces with other groups.’
      • ‘I believe we're just scratching the surface in our investigation and a lot more will come out.’
      • ‘The Policing Board member commented: ‘We haven't even scratched the surface of sectarianism yet, nor are we tackling it in any strategic way.’’
      • ‘We're scratching at the surface of his character here.’
  • up to scratch

    • Up to the required standard; satisfactory.

      ‘her German was not up to scratch’
      • ‘The light must be bright to help you adjust, Standard indoor lighting is not up to scratch.’
      • ‘Irish schools require an investment programme amounting to an estimated 2.5 billion to bring them up to scratch.’
      • ‘If it's not quite up to scratch, £1,000 invested in getting it to look its best could make a big difference.’
      • ‘It's nice to know that someone thinks my writing is up to scratch!’
      • ‘Are spelling standards and vocabulary up to scratch in Southland schools?’
      • ‘For instance, the sound system was not up to scratch and I did not feel comfortable performing with bad sound.’
      • ‘We say so because responses to emergencies like fire outbreaks and accidents are simply not up to scratch.’
      • ‘There are many cases on record of writers who have written three or four novels before they produced one which even they thought was up to scratch.’
      • ‘Tony says that he is feeling ‘fine’ at the moment and that he is trying to keep his health and fitness up to scratch.’
      • ‘To do that, they need the money to bring those services up to scratch.’
      good enough, up to the mark, up to standard, up to par, satisfactory, acceptable, adequate, passable, sufficient, competent, all right
      View synonyms
  • you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours

    • proverb If you do me a favor, I'll return it.

      • ‘The idea behind this goes back to you scratch my back I scratch yours.’
      • ‘A state that is run according to the principle of ‘you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours’ does not possess the authority required for carrying out ‘painful cuts’.’
      • ‘In short, I would prefer honest reviews over the watered-down "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours’ kind.’
      • ‘‘Cooperative’ partnership may be an underused form of relationship between organisations, although it uses mechanisms by which lots of individual business gets done: you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.’
      • ‘The amalgamated union of executive and non-executive directors represents a friendly society which operates on the basis of ‘you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours’.’
      • ‘What is so objectionable is the cosiness of it all: you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.’
      • ‘It's a story of ‘you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.’’
      • ‘She said the concept is based on the saying, ‘you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours’.’
      • ‘This statement expresses the real relations between the trade unions and management: you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.’


Late Middle English: probably a blend of the synonymous dialect words scrat and cratch, both of uncertain origin; compare with Middle Low German kratsen and Old High German krazzōn.