|Origin:||Probably from scrat 'to scratch' (13-19 centuries) + cratch 'to scratch' (13-16 centuries)|
to rub your skin with your nails because it feels uncomfortable [↪ itch]:
rub your skin[intransitive and transitive]
John yawned and scratched his leg.
Try not to scratch.
He was scratching at the bites on his arm.
to cut someone's skin slightly with your nails or with something sharp:
cut somebody's skin[intransitive and transitive]
She ran at him and scratched his face.
Don't scratch yourself on the thorns.
to make a small cut or mark on something by pulling something sharp across it:
make a mark[transitive]
I'm afraid I've scratched your car.
Some of the prisoners had scratched their names on the walls.
if an animal scratches, it rubs its feet against something, often making a noise:
animals[intransitive always + adverb/preposition]C
A few chickens scratched around in the yard.
a dog scratching at the door to be let in
to remove something from a surface by rubbing it with something sharp
remove something[transitive always + adverb/preposition]
scratch something off/away etc
I scratched away a little of the paint with my fingernail.
to remove a word from a piece of writing by drawing a line through it
remove writing[transitive always + adverb/preposition]
scratch something from/off something
I have scratched his name from the list.
to make a rough sound by moving something sharp across a surface:
make a noise[intransitive always + adverb/preposition]
His pen scratched away on the paper.
to deal with only a very small part of a subject or problem
scratch the surface of
I think we have only scratched the surface of this problem.
to think carefully about a difficult question or problem:
This crisis has politicians scratching their heads and wondering what to do.
if you scratch an idea or a plan, you decide that you will not do it
stop something happening[transitive] informal
if someone scratches from a race, or if you scratch them from the race, they do not take part in it
remove from race[intransitive and transitive] informalDS
used to say that you will help someone if they agree to help you
➔ scrape/scratch a livingat living2 (1)
scratch aroundphrasal verb
scratch around for
homeless people scratching around for a place to shelter
scratch something ↔ outphrasal verb
Emma's name had been scratched out.