Etymology: Middle English scracchen, probably blend of scratten to scratch and cracchen to scratch
Date: 15th century
1. to scrape or dig with the claws or nails
2. to rub and tear or mark the surface of with something sharp or jagged
a. to scrape or rub lightly (as to relieve itching)
b. to act on (a desire) — used with itch <scratch the itch to travel> 4. to scrape together ; collect with difficulty or by effort <scratch out a living> 5. to write or draw on a surface 6. a. to cancel or erase by or as if by drawing a line through b. to withdraw (an entry) from competition 7. scribble, scrawl 8. to scrape along a rough surface <scratch a match> intransitive verb 1. to use the claws or nails in digging, tearing, or wounding 2. to scrape or rub oneself lightly (as to relieve itching) 3. to gather money or make a living by hard work and especially through irregular means and sacrifice <had to scratch and save for college> 4. a. to make a thin grating sound b. to produce a rhythmic scratching sound by moving a phonograph record back and forth under a phonograph needle 5. to withdraw from a contest or engagement 6. to make a scratch in billiards or pool • scratcher noun II. noun Date: circa 1586 1. a mark or injury produced by scratching; also a slight wound 2. scrawl, scribble 3. the sound made by scratching 4. the starting line in a race 5. a. a test of courage b. satisfactory condition, level, or performance <not up to scratch> 6. a contestant whose name is withdrawn 7. poultry feed (as mixed grains) scattered on the litter or ground especially to induce birds to exercise — called also scratch feed 8. a. a shot in billiards or pool that ends a player's turn; specifically a shot in pool in which the cue ball falls into the pocket b. a shot that scores by chance ; fluke 9. slang money, funds III. adjective Date: 1851 1. arranged or put together with little selection ; haphazard <a scratch team> 2. made as or used for a tentative effort 3. made or done by chance and not as intended <a scratch shot> 4. having no handicap or allowance <a scratch golfer> 5. made from scratch ; made with basic ingredients <a scratch cake>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.