- 1Scratch or grope around with one’s fingers to find, collect, or hold onto something: she scrabbled at the grassy slope, desperate for a firm gripMore example sentences
- Giles tugged desperately at the manacles, his fingers scrabbling upward against the chain dangling them from the ceiling.
- The tiny knots of the branch dug into his neck as Merlin sought to find a purchase with his fingers, scrabbling against the oily branch.
- The boat was tilted almost vertically into the turn, and my fingers scrabbled for purchase in the slippery wood of the deck that I was careening down.
- 1.1(Of an animal) scratch at something with its claws: a dog was scrabbling at the doorMore example sentences
- There are several false alarms, but eventually his dogs scrabble madly at the base of a tree.
- Birds and other unseen creatures scrabble about in the windswept bushes of central park, but I would rather not deliberate too much about that.
- This sunny, summer evening, we are watching small dogs scrabble around on a drab linoleum floor.
- 1.2 [with adverbial of direction] Scramble or crawl quickly: lizards scrabbling across the wallsMore example sentences
- ‘Remove your hands,’ said Sean in a harsh voice while Sakura quickly scrabbled away and leaned on the wall.
- Claire quickly scrabbled up the branch, Jarret right behind her.
- Should he scrabble backwards towards the house?
- 1.3Make great efforts to get somewhere or achieve something: I had to scrabble around to find this apartmentMore example sentences
- In this context the survivors in the UK electricity market will continue to scrabble for scale.
- With the tabloids scrabbling for circulation and under pressure to land sensationalist stories, it is not a question of whether that day will arrive, but when.
- Because it makes us all richer, it enables us to concentrate more on non-material things instead of spending all our time scrabbling for a living.
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- 1 [in singular] An act of scratching or scrambling for something: he heard the scrabble of claws behind himMore example sentences
- Late one evening I heard a scrabble on the roof.
- There was a scrabble of paws and claws on stone, punctuated by a few grunts.
- A scrabble sounded behind them and it seemed as though someone had put a blindfold over their eyes.
- 1.1A struggle to get somewhere or achieve something: a scrabble among the salesmen to avoid going to the bottom of the heapMore example sentences
- They have also given rise to a deeply unsavoury scrabble among individuals and groups who want to use this for their own agenda and ends.
- The company started to scrabble around for money, suing as many customers as it could find for infringement of copyright.
- There is a scrabble to pull together some funds to keep the arts lobby happy, he adds.
- 2 (Scrabble) • trademark A board game in which players use lettered tiles to create words in a crossword fashion.More example sentences
- So, we were playing obscene Scrabble with double points for swear words and cocktail names.
- I, on the other hand, will be feeding my face and cleaning the kitchen before heading back up here to play Scrabble.
- Several more rounds of speed Scrabble followed with a growing band of enthusiasts.
- More example sentences
- Unfortunately, grown-up ‘scrabblers’ will have to stay home with their dictionaries and boards, since this competition is open to only students.
- He beat three other scrabblers to settle for 35th position after five wins and a -330 spread.
- The association is also appealing to well-wishers to contribute towards the tournament, which is expected to be attended by scrabblers from 6 countries.
mid 16th century (in the sense 'make marks at random, scrawl'): from Middle Dutch schrabbelen, frequentative of schrabben 'to scrape'. The noun sense 'struggle to achieve something' is originally a North American usage dating from the late 18th century.