The Meaning of Scratch: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of scratch? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word scratch, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word scratch mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary, Your Dictionary, and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word scratch can mean many different things as a noun, adjective, and verb. The pronunciation of scratch is skrætʃ. 

As an adjective, scratch can mean related to a data structure or some recording medium that is attached to a machine for testing or temporary use (i.e. scratchpad), having no golf handicap, assembled hastily or from nothing, and more.

As a noun, scratch can refer to a mark or slight injury on the surface of the skin, the location at the start of a race, a foul or penalty in pool when someone hits the cue ball into a pocket or off of the table, in billiards to refer to a fluke shot that was scored by a fortunate chance of the game as opposed to hitting in the object ball called a scratch shot, a technical error in the sporting events of long jump, shot put, discus and hammer throw when someone touches or passes the starting mark before the official start signal in these sporting events, the starting mark or starting place of a race or contest, money, poultry feed of common grains, a hasty scribble, and more.

As a verb, scratch means to scrape, perform digging, to remove or itch with the fingernails, sharp instrument, sharp object, or claws, to make a distinctive sound on a turntable by moving a vinyl record back and forth while manipulating the crossfader, to commit a pool foul, to get rid of, to rub or scrape, to draw or write hastily with a pen or pencil, to withdraw from certain card games, and more.

What is the origin of the word scratch?

According to Dictionary, the word scratch has been used since c15 as the Middle English scracchen, which was probably a blend of scratten to scratch and cracchen. This word comes from the Old French escrater from Germanic and Old High German krazzōn, which is the modern German kratzen. It is also related to the Old French gratter and Middle Dutch cratsen.

How can the word scratch be used in a sentence?

The word scratch can be used in many different sentences in natural sounding English. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definition. You can also try to make flashcards or quizzes for yourself to test your knowledge of definitions. Learning new words is a great way to make yourself sound smarter and to improve your vocabulary. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. Below are several examples of scratch.

He had tiny scratches all over his arms from itching at his insect bites with his nails. His arms felt like a rough material and felt like the sensation of irritation. He was covered in scabs. 

The name of a candidate on the political party ticket had their statement scratched from the phonograph record, and their particular name scratched from the ticket. 

She had a noticeable scratch due to the burs that became lodged in her legs when she fell on the sidewalk. She had great difficulty walking with the shallow cut

The lovers shorted a lucky shot in the billiards game. The scratch shot made them win the game.

What are synonyms and antonyms of scratch?

There are many different words that are equivalent to the word scratch. Synonyms are words and phrases that have the same or a similar definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are a useful English language tool because they can help you to avoid repeating the same word over and over again while simultaneously expanding your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word scratch is provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  boodle
  •  scraping
  •  moola
  •  chafe
  •  cacography
  •  moolah
  •  lettuce
  •  hurt
  •  notch
  •  strike out
  •  strike
  •  injure
  •  cash
  •  chicken feed
  •  scratching
  •  excoriation
  •  excoriate
  •  dough
  •  rasp
  •  tear
  •  clams
  •  mazuma
  •  graze
  •  cancel
  •  fray
  •  scrape
  •  gouge
  •  lacerate
  •  excise
  •  injury
  •  scrub
  •  abrade
  •  rub
  •  money
  •  bruise
  •  scratches
  •  incision
  •  crack
  •  rake
  •  bread
  •  flaw
  •  fret
  •  dosh
  •  inscribe
  •  scratch up
  •  laceration
  •  groove
  •  grate
  •  skin
  •  gall
  •  sugar
  •  lucre
  •  prick
  •  shekels
  •  call off
  •  scrabble
  •  slash
  •  scrape up
  •  scraped
  •  scribble
  •  start
  •  scuff
  •  delete
  •  obliterate
  •  cross out
  •  kale
  •  itch
  •  scratched
  •  lolly
  •  score
  •  wampum
  •  clawed
  •  wound
  •  slit
  •  gash
  •  chip
  •  damage
  •  bark
  •  incise
  •  mark
  •  nick
  •  loot
  •  erase
  •  dinero
  •  dent
  •  scar
  •  engrave
  •  scrawl
  •  gelt
  •  cut
  •  blemish
  •  chips
  •  cabbage
  •  abrasion
  •  currency
  •  come up
  •  expunge
  •  pelf
  •  grave
  •  claw

There are also a number of words that mean the opposite of the word scratch. These opposite words are known as antonyms, which are words and phrases that have the opposite definitions as another word or phrase. Antonyms are also a useful tool to expand a person’s vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word scratch is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  heal
  •  be dismissed
  •  borrow money
  •  become unemployed
  •  be jobless
  •  decide to be unemployed
  •  get the push
  •  be workless
  •  be without a job
  •  perfection
  •  fitna
  •  be fired
  •  arrears
  •  fixing to
  •  be released from duty
  •  be unoccupied
  •  be given one’s cards
  •  full monty
  •  mend
  •  charge card
  •  schedule
  •  get replaced
  •  smooth
  •  be made redundant
  •  be sacked
  •  be not working
  •  be unwaged
  •  headland
  •  be unemployed
  •  be dismissed from a job
  •  be between jobs
  •  lengthen
  •  whole nine yards
  •  going to
  •  dozen
  •  finna
  •  be idle
  •  call
  •  get laid off
  •  debt
  •  debts
  •  fixna
  •  be out of a job
  •  get the walking papers
  •  get the shove
  •  get a pink slip
  •  have no job
  •  be laid off
  •  fittina
  •  be out of work

Overall, the word scratch means many different things – from a little money, to the pocketing of the cue ball in pool, to a mixture of things, to a scratch crew, scratch golfer with no handicap for the par, rhythmic sounds with a slight grating noise, an old scratch, and more. 


  1. Scratch Meaning | Best 79 Definitions of Scratch | Your Dictionary 
  2. Scratch synonyms – 2 842 Words and Phrases for Scratch | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Scratch antonyms – 163 Opposites of Scratch | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Scratch Definition & Meaning | Dictionary