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1 [with object] score or mark the surface of (something) with a sharp or pointed object:the car’s paintwork was battered and scratched [no object]:he scratched at a stain on his jacket make a long, narrow superficial wound in the skin of:her arms were scratched by the thorns I scratched myself on the tree rub (a part of one’s body) with one’s fingernails to relieve itching:Jessica lifted her sunglasses and scratched her nose make (a mark or hole) by scoring a surface with a sharp or pointed object:I found two names scratched on one of the windowpanes write (something) hurriedly or awkwardly:pass me my writing things—I’ll scratch a few letters before I get up remove (something) from something else by pulling a sharp implement over it:he scratched away the plaster [no object] make a rasping or grating noise by scraping something over a hard surface:the dog scratched to be let in (as noun scratching)there was a sound of scratching behind the wall [no object]
(often as noun scratching
) play a record using the scratch technique. (sense 1 of the noun).
[no object] (of a bird or mammal, especially a chicken) rake the ground with the beak or claws in search of food. accomplish (something) with great effort or difficulty:he scratches out a living growing strawberries 2 [with object] cancel or strike out (writing) with a pen or pencil:the name of Dr. McNab was scratched out and that of Dr. Daniels substituted withdraw (a competitor) from a competition:Oswald’s Zephyr was the second horse to be scratched from a race today [no object] (of a competitor) withdraw from a competition:due to a knee injury she was forced to scratch from the race cancel or abandon (an undertaking or project):the original filming schedule has been scratched
1a mark or wound made by scratching:the scratches on her arm were throbbing [as modifier]:scratch marks on the door [in singular] informal a slight or insignificant wound or injury:it’s nothing—just a scratch [in singular] an act or spell of scratching oneself to relieve itching:he gave his scalp a good scratch a rasping or grating noise produced by something rubbing against a hard surface:the scratch of a match lighting a cigarette a rough hiss, caused by the friction of the stylus in the groove, heard when a record is played. a technique, used especially in rap music, of stopping a record by hand and moving it back and forth to give a rhythmic scratching effect. 2the starting point in a handicap for a competitor receiving no odds.
[originally denoting a boundary or starting line for sports competitors]
Golf a handicap of zero, indicating that a player is good enough to achieve par on a course. 3 informal money:he was working to get some scratch together
1assembled or made from whatever is available, and so unlikely to be of the highest quality:at least two vessels set sail with scratch crews 2(of a sports competitor or event) with no handicap given.
1deal with a matter only in the most superficial way:research has only scratched the surface of the paranormal 2initiate the briefest investigation to discover something concealed:they have a boring image, but scratch the surface and it’s fascinating