Definition of scrounge in 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’
    • ‘As stowaways scrounging for food, they are forced to flee the authorities.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Like the queen, he doesn't carry cash, so the billionaire has to scrounge cab fare from colleagues.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I spent 10 years out on the streets, scrounging for food, after you turned her against me!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yet, here he was, dressed in the dirtiest of clothes, scrounging for money.’
    • ‘She expresses her desire to send him as much money as she can scrounge up.’
    • ‘This meant that when we weren't shooting, we were scrounging for work.’
    • ‘And the crews I sent scrounging for projectiles?’
    • ‘Instead of loosing my mind, or scrounging for food, or searching for a soul survivor, I decided to do my laundry instead.’
    • ‘You spend your benefit money on drugs and then you come round here scrounging for free food.’
    • ‘My grades need to be brought up, and I am scrounging for credits for college.’
    • ‘Your father is going to tear up that contract and we're going to be out scrounging for work again.’
    beg, borrow
    cadge, sponge, bum, touch someone for
    sorn on someone for
    View synonyms


  • [in singular] An act of scrounging.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It was in fact, an official scrounge, all expenses paid.’
    • ‘I will have a scrounge around today and see if I can find any more.’
    • ‘How can the mother get tax credits if she pays no tax as she's not working... that is a good scrounge.’


Early 20th century: variant of dialect scrunge steal.