- 1Scratch or grope around with one’s fingers to find, collect, or hold on to something: she scrabbled at the grassy slope, desperate for purchaseMore 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 lonely 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?
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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.
- 2 (Scrabble) [mass noun] • trademark A game in which players build up words on a board from small lettered squares or tiles.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.
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.