• Cutter of Scrub-Plane. Scratch-Plane and Scraper-Plane
    Cutter of Scrub-Plane. Scratch-Plane and Scraper-Plane
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v scratch cause friction "my sweater scratches"
    • v scratch cut the surface of; wear away the surface of
    • v scratch carve, cut, or etch into a material or surface "engrave a pen","engraved the trophy cupt with the winner's","the lovers scratched their names into the bark of the tree"
    • v scratch gather (money or other resources) together over time "She had scraped together enough money for college","they scratched a meager living"
    • v scratch remove by erasing or crossing out or as if by drawing a line "Please strike this remark from the record","scratch that remark"
    • v scratch scrape or rub as if to relieve itching "Don't scratch your insect bites!"
    • v scratch postpone indefinitely or annul something that was scheduled "Call off the engagement","cancel the dinner party","we had to scrub our vacation plans","scratch that meeting--the chair is ill"
    • n scratch an indication of damage
    • n scratch (golf) a handicap of zero strokes "a golfer who plays at scratch should be able to achieve par on a course"
    • n scratch poor handwriting
    • n scratch a harsh noise made by scraping "the scrape of violin bows distracted her"
    • n scratch dry mash for poultry
    • n scratch a line indicating the location of the start of a race or a game
    • n scratch a competitor who has withdrawn from competition
    • n scratch informal terms for money
    • n scratch a depression scratched or carved into a surface
    • n scratch an abraded area where the skin is torn or worn off
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Dad Leaned Against a Lamp Post and Scratched his Back 364 Dad Leaned Against a Lamp Post and Scratched his Back 364
English sgraffito, or scratched, ware—one of the most colorful types of pottery unearthed at Jamestown English sgraffito, or scratched, ware—one of the most colorful types of pottery unearthed at Jamestown
Sir Claude Scratch calls on Frizzle Frog Sir Claude Scratch calls on Frizzle Frog

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The Food and Drug Administration says the most common injury from cosmetics comes from scratching the eye with a mascara wand
    • Scratch A break in the surface of a thing made by scratching, or by rubbing with anything pointed or rough; a slight wound, mark, furrow, or incision. "The coarse file . . . makes deep scratches in the work.""These nails with scratches deform my breast.""God forbid a shallow scratch should drive
      The prince of Wales from such a field as this."
    • Scratch A kind of wig covering only a portion of the head.
    • Scratch (Pugilistic Matches) A line across the prize ring; up to which boxers are brought when they join fight; hence, test, trial, or proof of courage; as, to bring to the scratch; to come up to the scratch .
    • Scratch (Billiards) a shot which results in a penalty, such as dropping the cue ball in a pocket without hitting another ball.
    • Scratch (Billiards) A shot which scores by chance and not as intended by the player; a fluke.
    • Scratch In various sports, the line from which the start is made, except in the case of contestants receiving a distance handicap.
    • a Scratch Made, done, or happening by chance; arranged with little or no preparation; determined by circumstances; haphazard; as, a scratch team; a scratch crew for a boat race; a scratch shot in billiards.
    • Scratch (Far) Minute, but tender and troublesome, excoriations, covered with scabs, upon the heels of horses which have been used where it is very wet or muddy.
    • Scratch To cancel by drawing one or more lines through, as the name of a candidate upon a ballot, or of a horse in a list; hence, to erase; to efface; -- often with out.
    • Scratch To dig or excavate with the claws; as, some animals scratch holes, in which they burrow.
    • Scratch To rub and tear or mark the surface of with something sharp or ragged; to scrape, roughen, or wound slightly by drawing something pointed or rough across, as the claws, the nails, a pin, or the like. "Small sand-colored stones, so hard as to scratch glass.""Be mindful, when invention fails,
      To scratch your head, and bite your nails."
    • Scratch (Billiards) To score, not by skillful play but by some fortunate chance of the game.
    • Scratch To use the claws or nails in tearing or in digging; to make scratches. "Dull, tame things, . . . that will neither bite nor scratch ."
    • Scratch To write or draw hastily or awkwardly. "Scratch out a pamphlet."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Cat scratch disease, a benign but sometimes painful disease of short duration, is caused by a bacillus. Despite its name, the disease can be transmitted by many kinds of scratches besides those of cats.
    • scratch To mark or wound slightly on the surface by the scraping or tearing action of something rough, sharp, or pointed.
    • scratch To rub or scrape, as with the finger-nails or with a scratcher, but without wounding or marking, as for the purpose of relieving itching or irritation.
    • scratch To write or draw hurriedly or awkwardly; scribble.
    • scratch To dig, scrape, or excavate with the claws: as, some animals scratch holes in which they burrow.
    • scratch To erase or blot out; obliterate; expunge.
    • scratch Specifically.
    • scratch In horse-racing, to erase, as the name of a horse, from the list of starters.
    • scratch In United States politics, to erase (the name of a candidate on a printed ballot) by drawing a line through it; hence, to reject (a candidate).
    • scratch Synonyms Chafe, Abrade, etc. See scrape.
    • scratch To use the nails, claws, or the like for tearing the surface, or for digging, as a hen.
    • scratch To relieve cutaneous irritation by the scraping action of the nails or claws or of a scratcher.
    • scratch In United States politics, to expunge or delete a name on a voting-paper or ballot; reject one or more candidates on a regular party ticket, by canceling their names before casting the ballot.
    • scratch In billiards, to make a scratch or fluke.
    • n scratch A break in the surface of a thing made by scratching, or by rubbing with anything pointed; a slight furrow; a score: as, a scratch on wood or glass.
    • n scratch A slight wound; a laceration; a slight incision: as, he escaped with a mere scratch on the face.
    • n scratch plural A disease in horses, consisting of dry chaps, rifts, or scabs between the heel and the pastern-joint.
    • n scratch In various contests:
    • n scratch The line from which the contestants start.
    • n scratch A line drawn across a prize-ring, to which boxers are brought in order to join fight. See to come up to the scratch, under come.
    • n scratch The starting-point or time of starting of a player or contestant who has to make the full score or who is allowed no odds in a handicap game or contest; also, a player or competitor holding such a position.
    • n scratch In billiards, a stroke which is successful, but not in the way intended; a fluke.
    • n scratch A kind of wig covering only a part of the head; a scratch-wig.
    • n scratch A calcareous, earthy, or stony substance which separates from sea-water in boiling it for salt.
    • n scratch A scrawl.
    • scratch Taken at random or haphazard, or without regard to qualifications; taken indiscriminately; heterogeneous: as, a scratch crew.
    • scratch Without handicap or allowance of time or distance: noting a race or contest in which all competitors start from the same mark or on even terms, or a competitor who receives no handicap allowance.
    • n scratch A devil: only in the phrase Old Scratch, the devil.
    • scratch To treat with a scratch-brush, as in finishing metal.
    • n scratch In billiards: In handicaps, the zero starting-mark.
    • n scratch A ‘fluke,’ in any game.
    • n scratch In pool, the mark by which forfeitures are designated and tallied.
    • scratch In sports and games, so good as to be obliged to start at scratch (or give handicaps to opponents) literally or figuratively; very skilful.
    • scratch Having been scratched off a list of entries, etc.: implying nothing dishonorable: as, a scratch colt, one which had been entered for the two year olds; a scratch nominee.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Pac-Man, Namco's 1979 arcade game, was originally called "Puck Man". The name was changed when they realized that vandals could easily scratch out part of the letter "P".
    • v.t Scratch skrach to mark the surface with something pointed, as the nails: to tear or to dig with the claws: to write hurriedly: to erase
    • v.i Scratch to use the claws in tearing or digging: to delete a name on a voting-paper
    • n Scratch a mark or tear made by scratching: a slight wound: the line in a prize-ring up to which boxers are led—hence test, trial, as in 'to come up to the scratch:' (pl.) a disease in horses: the time of starting of a player: in billiards, a chance stroke which is successful: a kind of wig, a scratch-wig: a scrawl
    • adj Scratch taken at random, as a 'scratch crew:' without handicap, or allowance of time or distance
    • ***


  • Dennis Green
    Dennis Green
    “The secret to success is to start from scratch and keep on scratching.”
  • Ernest Bramah
    Ernest Bramah
    “One learns to itch where one can scratch.”
  • Leo Durocher
    Leo Durocher
    “Give me some scratching, diving, hungry ballplayers who come to kill you.”
  • Henry Ford
    “Business is never so healthy as when, like a chicken, it must do a certain amount of scratching around for what it gets.”
  • Thomas J. Watson
    “You don't hear things that are bad about your company unless you ask. It is easy to hear good tidings, but you have to scratch to get the bad news.”
  • Miguel De Cervantes
    “Those who'll play with cats must expect to be scratched.”


From scratch - This idiom means 'from the beginning'.
Handwriting like chicken scratch - If your handwriting is very hard to read, it is like chicken scratch.
Scratch the surface - When you scratch the surface of something, you have a superficial knowledge or understanding of it.
Start from scratch - When you start something from scratch, you start at the very beginning.
Up to scratch - If something doesn't come up to scratch, it doesn't meet the standard required or expected.
You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours - This idiom means that if you do something for me, I'll return the favour.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. cracchen,perhaps influenced by OE. scratten, to scratch); cf. OHG. chrazzōn, G. kratzen, OD. kratsen, kretsen, D. krassen, Sw. kratsa, to scrape, kratta, to rake, to scratch, Dan. kradse, to scratch, to scrape, Icel. krota, to engrave. Cf. Grate to rub


In literature:

Now when Jimmy Skunk is angry, he doesn't bite and he doesn't scratch.
"The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk" by Thornton W. Burgess
After a moment I climbed upon its top surface and started to walk towards the point where I knew the scratch to be.
"The Girl in the Golden Atom" by Raymond King Cummings
She'll need a considerable time to recover her nerves and give these scratches time to heal.
"Flaming June" by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
He pawed and scratched as if undermining a bastion.
"Little Masterpieces of American Wit and Humor" by Various
I knew I was safe, but my forehead hurt me just as if it had been scratched by the thorns on one of the hedges close to the water-side.
"Brownsmith's Boy" by George Manville Fenn
Bruff did not leave them long in doubt, but began snuffing at one side, close to the end, following it up by scratching and whining.
"Mother Carey's Chicken" by George Manville Fenn
The cow blinked her eyes, and turned her head to smell at the bucket which Dick set down on the deck, and stood scratching his head.
"Cutlass and Cudgel" by George Manville Fenn
The man scratched his head, and had a good stare at the glowing object in the distance, as if he were making a careful calculation.
"Blue Jackets" by George Manville Fenn
The skipper scratched his head furiously, and stared again.
"Bunyip Land" by George Manville Fenn
All he could do was to bestow an irritable scratch at his nose, and the spider came back again.
"Middy and Ensign" by G. Manville Fenn

In poetry:

But when he found his eyes were out,
Unlike him, he could find
No bush to scratch them in again...
So he was always blind
"Bramble Bush" by Edith Mirick
They were content to swim and scratch,
And not at all inclined
For any wild goose chase in search
Of something undefined.
"The Lay Of A Golden Goose" by Louisa May Alcott
The matches hold them in hiding,—
Scratching one you will find
The light with a warmth abiding
Carries them to his mind.
"Hamar-Made Matches" by Bjornstjerne Bjornson
Rough figures scratched with tiny hands
Remain upon the high pew walls,
Soldiers perhaps in uncouth bands,
Or wandering childish scrawls.
"Ten Years After - Easter Sunday" by Annie Adams Fields
Is it the wind that stirs the trees,
Is it the trees that scratch the wall,
Is it the wall that shakes and mutters,
Is it a dumb ghost's call?
"The Call" by John Freeman
For birds, now vocal in the trees,
And beasts, with grass about their knees,
Accept in simple wise the gifts abounding,
But, of all creatures, man alone,
The brainiest being ever known,
Must scratch his head and fall to self-confounding.
"Frankenstein" by C J Dennis

In news:

Point Given's Full Sister , Half-Sister to Top-Selling Filly Scratched From Keeneland September.
A few did make me scratch my head.
In our household, making a tuna sandwich means starting from scratch, with quarks.
Kenny Perry scratches his head after missing a putt on No 18 during the final round of the Shark Shootout on Sunday at the Ritz-Carlton Tiburon Golf Resort in Naples.
SOLON Giant Eagle corporate officials remain adamant about keeping their option to build a new Get-Go gas station from scratch at the proposed Solar Center.
Scratch-and-Sniff Theater at The Great American Trailer Park Musical.
So the election is over, and many conservative Christians are scratching their heads, dazed and confused.
Scratch the Manhattan pied-à-terre this year.
How not to scratch the furniture.
Whether you're a scratch golfer or weekend warrior, check out Joe O'Connell's blog on the world of golf.
The Marina is the cruise line's fourth ship, and the first built from scratch for the company.
A version of the classic green bean casserole made from scratch with fresh, delicious ingredients.
He said Matt Ellis and Aaron Downey are likely to be scratched.
And yet scratching is one of nature's sweetest gratifications, and nearest at hand.
When did getting a gift for a loved one, a selfless act of generosity come to involve scratching and clawing at others in order to do so.

In science:

Due to the data structure different from the previous CALICE test-beam campaigns, a new online monitor has been written from scratch, scalable with the number of operating SPIROCs in the system, right panel of Fig. 3.
CALICE Second Generation AHCAL Developments
By this procedure new insights on a given system can be integrated iteratively without reengineering the model from scratch.
Generalized modeling of ecological population dynamics
The simplification is due to applying a suitable proof method for program correctness, instead of constructing a proof from scratch.
A Simple Correctness Proof for Magic Transformation
Such problems have become of technological interest to study how artificial agents or robots can invent common classification or tagging schemes from scratch without human intervention [15, 16].
Naming Games in Two-Dimensional and Small-World-Connected Random Geometric Networks
In this note, we have obviously only scratched the surface of a possible super-quantum theory, and many probing questions remain to be answered and understood.
Bell's Inequalities, Superquantum Correlations, and String Theory