Definition of scuffle in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈskəfəl/


1A short, confused fight or struggle at close quarters: there were minor scuffles with police
More example sentences
  • A few scuffles with the law culminated in a year of jail time.
  • Out of all the fights, all the scuffles and tussles, this was the only one that mattered.
  • Evidence of past scuffles showed in the extra solid nature of the tables and chairs, and the lack of anything breakable not far enough behind the bar to be out of the reach of possible combatants.
2An act or sound of moving in a hurried, confused, or shuffling manner: he heard the scuffle of feet
More example sentences
  • A series of scuffles and bangs sounded from within the gloom and even Marlo winced once when something heavy fell, smashed and Atoshi squeaked pathetically.
  • Almost as soon as he had done so, there were sounds of scuffles, all around him - Elfazar was able to move like lightning when he merged with the shadows, moving quickly to one demon, dealing with him, then moving to another.


[no object]
1Engage in a short, confused fight or struggle at close quarters: the teacher noticed two students scuffling in the corridor
More example sentences
  • The inevitability of globalization was evident even to the demonstrators who scuffled with armed Swiss national police units in seeking to disrupt the proceedings.
  • Outside the hotel where the auction took place Tuesday, several protesters scuffled with security guards when they tried to push into the ballroom to block the sales.
  • Two campers are scuffling with each other off to one side.
fight, struggle, tussle, exchange blows, come to blows, brawl, clash
informal scrap
2 [with adverbial of direction] Move in a hurried, confused, or awkward way, making a rustling or shuffling sound: a drenched woman scuffled through the doorway
More example sentences
  • They scuffled and banged around downstairs for a few minutes, but then they were gone.
  • Cole scuffled over, his hands in his pockets and his eyes downcast.
  • Then, having lost her nerve already by her mother's harsh words, she scuffled back towards the exit in retreat.
2.1 [with object] (Of an animal or person) move (something) in a scrambling or confused manner: the rabbit struggled free, scuffling his front paws
More example sentences
  • Standing on her sore feet, Lily groaned as she scuffled her feet to the chair in the corner.
  • A single man stands like a bird-watcher, and scuffles the pepper and salt snow from a discarded, grey Westinghouse Electric cable drum.


Late 16th century (as a verb): probably of Scandinavian origin; compare with Swedish skuffa 'to push'; related to shove and shuffle.

Words that rhyme with scuffle

duffel, kerfuffle, muffle, ruffle, shuffle, snuffle, truffle

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: scuf·fle

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