Definition of scrounge in US English:



[with object]informal
  • Seek to obtain (something, typically food or money) at the expense or through the generosity of others or by stealth.

    ‘he had managed to scrounge a free meal’
    no object ‘we didn't scrounge off the social security’
    • ‘You spend your benefit money on drugs and then you come round here scrounging for free food.’
    • ‘The lack of materials meant that teachers must either use lecture and recitation or spend unrealistic amounts of time scrounging for materials and planning creative lessons.’
    • ‘As a reviewer I don't get sent everything I ask for and so I scrounge quite a bit - but only for the films I really, really want.’
    • ‘So it's not really scrounging for money anymore.’
    • ‘Bears scrounging for human food will be busy at the water-side campsites, and will almost invariably ignore the far-removed and unproductive woods.’
    • ‘Your father is going to tear up that contract and we're going to be out scrounging for work again.’
    • ‘I spent 10 years out on the streets, scrounging for food, after you turned her against me!’
    • ‘She expresses her desire to send him as much money as she can scrounge up.’
    • ‘And the crews I sent scrounging for projectiles?’
    • ‘Like the queen, he doesn't carry cash, so the billionaire has to scrounge cab fare from colleagues.’
    • ‘My grades need to be brought up, and I am scrounging for credits for college.’
    • ‘The cash-strapped firm may have hit on a solution for companies scrounging for the dough to pump up pension funds that were recently flattened by the stock market's slide.’
    • ‘Instead of loosing my mind, or scrounging for food, or searching for a soul survivor, I decided to do my laundry instead.’
    • ‘As stowaways scrounging for food, they are forced to flee the authorities.’
    • ‘Yet, here he was, dressed in the dirtiest of clothes, scrounging for money.’
    • ‘This meant that when we weren't shooting, we were scrounging for work.’
    beg, borrow
    View synonyms


  • An act of scrounging.

    • ‘How can the mother get tax credits if she pays no tax as she's not working... that is a good scrounge.’
    • ‘I will have a scrounge around today and see if I can find any more.’
    • ‘It was in fact, an official scrounge, all expenses paid.’
    • ‘I can have a scrounge around for you as I'm not going to bed but don't have anything really important to do at the moment.’


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