Definition of scratchy in US English:


adjectivescratchier, scratchiest

  • 1(especially of a fabric or garment) having a rough, uncomfortable texture and tending to cause itching or discomfort.

    • ‘She disappeared for a moment, reappearing with scratchy woollen blankets.’
    • ‘Did you know that sacking-like scratchy large-weave fabric with vaguely hairy fibres, the stuff they put on display screens and trendy flower arrangements, is called Hessian?’
    • ‘Some wools are scratchy giving some people the idea that they are ‘allergic’ to wool.’
    • ‘The skirt was made of a scratchy woollen mohair beneath a satin bodice.’
    • ‘The rough prison blanket had felt scratchy through his regulation pyjamas.’
    • ‘The salt water he had used to clean off the worst of the gunk made his clothing stiff and scratchy.’
    • ‘Rose's fingers were numb from the cold, white with sharply marked red tips, and they stung bitterly as she dug them into his scratchy coat.’
    • ‘‘It's broken,’ she whispered, finally breaking her gaze with Chris, plucking at the scratchy blanket on the bed.’
    • ‘It itched and felt dry and scratchy against his skin.’
    • ‘Avoid wearing clothes made out of scratchy materials like wool.’
    • ‘I was greeted by grey bleakness and a scratchy woolen blanket and a hard wooden floor.’
    • ‘The good news is that today's sexy lingerie is no longer uncomfortable, scratchy and unpractical.’
    • ‘Nicole embraced Kim tightly, the mesh sleeves of her black shirt scratchy against Kim's arms.’
    • ‘The scratchy blankets were tucked around her, and Robert was spooned behind her against the wall.’
    • ‘She rolled over on her thin pallet, on the bottom bunk, pulling her scratchy military-issue blanket tighter around her.’
    • ‘‘Check to see if your guitar is in there,’ I laughed, grabbing the thick, scratchy wool blanket off the couch.’
    • ‘It was originally covered in scratchy brown fabric.’
    • ‘Andy and I sat on the edge of the dock, dangling our legs into the water with the rough, scratchy boards underneath us and the sun blazing down from above.’
    • ‘She would have given anything to get out of her painful tan heels, white knee-length dress, and scratchy light brown hat and put on some torn jeans and tennis shoes.’
    • ‘Scared out of my wits, dressed all in shimmering white fabric and scratchy yet beautiful white lace, I felt all alone in the foreign country of England.’
    1. 1.1 (of a voice or sound) rough; grating.
      ‘she dropped her voice to a scratchy whisper’
      • ‘It was a really long song, and his singing voice was scratchy and cracked every few seconds.’
      • ‘The singer's scratchy voice and world-weary acoustic songs are nastily refreshing, and his lyrics are positively bewitching.’
      • ‘‘Much,’ was the answer, but Stef's voice was still scratchy, and didn't sound much like him at all.’
      • ‘When he talks his voice is scratchy and foreign to me.’
      • ‘Music and lights and laughter, scratchy laughter that even in its ugliness sounded happier than mine.’
      • ‘‘C'mere horsey,’ the woman called in a harsh, scratchy voice.’
      • ‘‘Sire, phase one of the plan is completed,’ the monster snarled in his scratchy voice.’
      • ‘‘Water please,’ she managed to say in a scratchy voice.’
      • ‘Her voice was still scratchy from sleep though.’
      • ‘The reporter, in his scratchy voice, asked her to retell her story.’
      • ‘She hands me the cell phone and a small, scratchy voice apologizes but says that after a trip to the doctor and a chance to revive, she will see me at her home.’
      • ‘The father asked in a scratchy voice, ‘Why was I not told of this?’’
      • ‘His scratchy voice was meant to sing blues, though, and he'd sound like he was singing the blues no matter what type of music he's singing.’
      • ‘After he chewed it for a few moments, Frank said in a deep, scratchy voice, ‘Thank you!’’
      • ‘He winced, still recalling her scratchy laughter and screeching voice.’
      • ‘‘I look forward to it, then,’ came a soft and scratchy voice from behind.’
      • ‘You could tell because his voice is very scratchy from all the smoking he did in his youth.’
      • ‘While I sat up all night in fear of a cracker-nibbling rat, trying to watch TV and ignore the ludicrously loud scratchy noises, I was contemplating my happiness.’
      • ‘‘Great outfit,’ Joey said disguising his voice with scratchy sounds.’
      • ‘Her regularly soft voice is scratchy, disclosing the unspoken knowledge of sleepless nights and drowsy days.’
      harsh, strident, screeching, squawky, squawking, sharp, grating, discordant, dissonant, inharmonious, unmelodious, jarring, brassy
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    2. 1.2 (of a record) making a crackling or rough sound because of scratches on the surface.
      • ‘Thoughtless musical parasites nearly brought the entire record industry to its knees by recording scratchy vinyl or crackly medium wave onto hissy cassettes.’
      • ‘Until reintroduced by the CJB, we had to scrounge in Salvation Army Stores and junk shops searching for scratchy old copies of original recordings.’
      • ‘The songs on the album were all scratchy, new-wavey and sounded like they had been recorded in an upturned tin bath.’
      • ‘We had a few scratchy records, a disco deck, a microphone, a small transmitter and a desire in our hearts to try to create something that people would be proud of.’
      • ‘When I was a kid in the fifties, the whole of our primary school would gather on the lawn while a bugle played off a scratchy record and the Head read the obligatory poem.’
      • ‘They gave him a scratchy 78 rpm vinyl recording of a train and dynamite explosions in a stone quarry.’
      • ‘None of the members of the band knew the instrument firsthand; Mr. Richmond learned how to play it from scratchy old records.’
      • ‘My parents also flinched when I put on my scratchy gramophone records of German symphonies, and prepared for complaints from the neighbours.’
      • ‘He was inspired to try his hand at poetry in high school, when he bought a scratchy Dylan Thomas record at a garage sale.’
      • ‘Over and over he plays a scratchy recording of the sparrow's call.’
      • ‘I've heard guys in New York who sound just like Charlie Parker, but it's like a scratchy record of Parker.’
      • ‘This new collection manages to refresh some scratchy old records, but also to bring home the inherent power of the blues to entertain.’
      • ‘I tried to get a number for Gallo through a record company that released some scratchy, self-indulgent folk albums of his.’
      • ‘Medicine was hard, and he should work at it hard instead of fooling about learning to dance or listening to opera on scratchy expensive records.’
      • ‘I was recording the analog noise between tracks on a scratchy old copy of Karl Muck conducting Parzifal with the Bayreuth Festival Chorus onto a cassette tape.’
      • ‘Previously, many people had marvelled at the fact that using a steel needle, a revolving table and a horn you could hear a scratchy and very constrained recording of music or song.’
      • ‘When he started preproduction for the project, he scoured music shops around New York, buying every scratchy old record he could find.’
      • ‘The only copy I had of the album was an old tattered cassette I recorded from my college radio station's scratchy vinyl copy.’
      • ‘I bought Toast 4.0 for the Mac, since it's good for cleaning up old scratchy records and transferring them to CDs.’
      • ‘Skipping over the scratchy part, she began to sing with the record, her voice throaty, a low rasp.’
    3. 1.3 (of writing or a drawing) done with quick and jagged strokes.
      ‘a scratchy ink sketch of a man on horseback’
      • ‘His linework was scratchy, his modelling often stiff, and his eye for perspective shaky.’
      • ‘He was wearing black faded jeans, and a red t-shirt with ‘Sporks Rule Me’ etched in black scratchy writing across it.’
      • ‘He works in a scratchy, unpolished drawing style that looks like something put down in haste right after the event.’
      • ‘Begin with a few scratchy sketches and then move to the canvas.’
      • ‘It was the bringer of the gray shade, the darker part of him coming to life in a shady drawing of scratchy stick figures.’
      • ‘When the works were viewed side by side, de Kooning's brushwork really did look like a blowup of Soutine's scratchy strokes.’
      • ‘Her style has tended toward the expressionistic - fitful and scratchy.’
      • ‘His magnificent scratchy drawing skills are in global demand.’
      • ‘The collection of new work seems to follow that same artistic idea, with lots of small models and scratchy sketches all contributing towards one central theme.’
      • ‘McKean's scratchy, angular drawings, reminiscent of Victorian etchings, add an ominous edge that helps ensure this book will be a real bedtime-buster.’
      • ‘The poem is still at the Jackson Pollock stage - a mess of scratchy lines and blobs of ink on a yellow ground.’
      • ‘The artist likes to float between scratchy, airy paintings and thicker, impasto works, such as in some of the paintings of cows.’
      • ‘The chasm is not a peaceful picturesque place, but a reminder of nature's power, which is emphasized by the scratchy crosshatching of the drawing.’
      • ‘Below the word, which ran across the chest, was a fashionably scratchy picture of what he presumed was meant to be a tennis racquet.’
      • ‘Hope's rather scratchy sketch shows the western end of the gallery with two Greek Doric columns framing a view of the organ.’
      • ‘While Galambos' black and white pen drawings at times seem a little scratchy and lacking in polish, he has a nice sense of design.’
      • ‘Did he ever pay a similar tribute to Smith's scratchy writings, or study his famous map?’
      • ‘His scratchy pen portraits might focus on children but this volume is strictly adults only.’
      • ‘Pope has a scratchy, dark drawing style that tosses characters and objects together in an impressionistic jumble.’
      • ‘Her vague, scratchy, grayish images look kind of like piles of bent wire already, and they might be more interesting in three dimensions.’
      jagged, hooked, spiky, spiked, spined, spiny, prickly, thorny, bristly, bristled, briary, brambly, sharp, pointed
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