Definition of scramble in English:


Syllabification: scram·ble
Pronunciation: /ˈskrambəl


  • 1 [no object] Make one’s way quickly or awkwardly up a steep slope or over rough ground by using one’s hands as well as one’s feet: we scrambled over the wet boulders
    More example sentences
    • The children had been tossed around underwater but managed to get to their feet and scramble to higher ground.
    • The ground was rocky and Damian quickly scrambled over to Thera.
    • Hopping up quickly, she scrambled down the side of the rock to flat ground; smoothing the winkles of her dress.
    clamber, climb, crawl, claw one's way, scrabble, grope one's way, struggle, shinny
  • 1.1Move hurriedly or clumsily from or into a particular place or position: she scrambled out of the car I tried to scramble to my feet
    More example sentences
    • ‘What happened?’ Laras demanded, scrambling to a sitting position and examining his scraped knees and palms.
    • Kyle's eyes widened and he moved back, eventually scrambling back so fast he fell over.
    • Nikholas was sitting in front of the cell's bars, although he scrambled to a standing position as Ian entered.
  • 1.2 (scramble into) Put (clothes) on hurriedly: Robbie scrambled into jeans and a T-shirt
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    • Hastily he got out of bed and scrambled into his clothes.
    • I scrambled into my dressing gown and half-dashed half-limped down the stairs.
    • He recalls panic as sirens sounded and troops had to scramble into nuclear, biological and chemical protective suits in temperatures sometimes topping 130F.
  • 1.3 [with object] informal Perform (an action) or achieve (a result) hurriedly, clumsily, or with difficulty.
    More example sentences
    • Then he had a shot which struck the post before being scrambled away by the visitors.
    • Frotunately, the kick cracked the foot of the post and was scrambled away.
    • David Wetherall headed the cross for Watford's first corner which was scrambled away.
  • 1.4 [with infinitive] Struggle or compete with others for something in an eager or uncontrolled and undignified way: firms scrambled to win public-sector contracts
    More example sentences
    • His family is struggling and scrambling to deal with not only the emotional issues but the financial impact as well.
    • The media bombard the public with calls for more government spending and eager politicians scramble to help in the spend-up.
    • The media giant is pulling apart its empire as it scrambles to compete in a changed media world.
    jostle, scuffle, tussle, struggle, strive, compete, contend, vie, jockey
  • 1.5 [with object] Order (a fighter aircraft or its pilot) to take off immediately in an emergency or for action.
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    • The Air Force scrambled interceptor aircraft to investigate, but they found nothing.
    • The aeronautical rescue co-ordination centre at RAF Kinloss immediately scrambled a helicopter.
    • A Royal Navy Rescue Helicopter was scrambled as was the Coastguard rescue helicopter from Stornoway.
  • 1.6(Of a fighter aircraft or its pilot) take off immediately for action.
    More example sentences
    • Fighter jets and Blackhawk helicopters scrambled before the plane was identified and escorted to the Washington airport.
    • If the plane is acting suspiciously, fighter jets could scramble to intercept.
    • In Britain, Royal Air Force fighter planes scrambled today to escort a Greek jetliner to a London airport.
  • 1.7 Football (Of a quarterback) run around with the ball behind the line of scrimmage while looking for an open receiver.
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    • He can scramble to avoid pressure and pick up yardage on the run, but he doesn't have a pro arm and is accurate in streaks.
    • There are four new starters on an inexperienced line, so the team needs a quarterback who can scramble and react to the blitz.
    • Brad Johnson scrambles for 10 yards on third down to get the first down.
  • 1.8 Football Run forward with the ball when unable to pass to an open receiver.
    More example sentences
    • He must learn to protect the ball better when passing and scrambling.
    • The second play nobody was open so I scramble all the way in for a touchdown.
    • Great work from the forwards took them to the Caerphilly line, but John Petrie was unable to scramble over.
  • 2 [with object] Make (something) jumbled or muddled: maybe the alcohol has scrambled his brains
    More example sentences
    • His brain was scrambled, a mess of hash browns, but some twisted force kept him moving.
    • After scrambling her brain on joint custody, she has plunged into the maelstrom of superannuation rights for same sex couples.
    • I'm going to work today so I won't be able to idle away hours scrambling my brain with these issues.
    muddle, confuse, mix up, jumble (up), disarrange, disorganize, disorder, disturb, mess up
  • 2.1Prepare (eggs) by beating them with a little liquid and then cooking and stirring them gently.
    More example sentences
    • Push everything to one side, and gently scramble the eggs in the same pan.
    • It tastes great, whether you're making salad dressing or scrambling a few egg whites.
    • The eggs have to be softly scrambled, and cooked in butter.
  • 2.2Make (a broadcast transmission, a telephone message, or electronic data) unintelligible unless received by an appropriate decoding device: (as adjective scrambled) scrambled television signals
    More example sentences
    • If he can't meet members of the JTTF face-to-face, he talks to them on a secure telephone that scrambles his conversations.
    • All data in the payloads is scrambled, but framing bytes in the overhead consist of fixed data patterns and thus are not scrambled.
    • When we negotiate, our clients certainly want a program, which scrambles a signal so you can't copy it.


[usually in singular] Back to top  
  • 1A difficult or hurried clamber up or over something: an undignified scramble over the wall
    More example sentences
    • The next hour was a constant scramble through tangled trees, around in circles, and hiding behind bushes.
  • 1.1A walk up steep terrain involving the use of one’s hands.
    More example sentences
    • Crisp air, soaring mountain faces, a scramble up a chain ladder that took us up a short cliff face and then a walk across the summit plateau brought us to what felt like the lip of the world.
    • This delivers a scramble over boulders and down the backside of a fairly impressive granite dome.
    • Fine views gradually emerge of falls across the steep canyon, though don't try the hazardous scramble down to them.
  • 1.2An eager or uncontrolled and undignified struggle with others to obtain or achieve something: a scramble for high-priced concert seats
    More example sentences
    • The war was a scramble for the control of the second largest oil reserves in the world and a move to establish its imperial hegemony.
    • Both sides embarked on an escalating public relations battle and a frantic scramble for the moral high ground.
    • As even public universities become more privatized, the scramble for external funding wedges the two castes further apart.
    tussle, jostle, scrimmage, scuffle, struggle, free-for-all, competition, contention, vying, jockeying; muddle, confusion, melee
  • 1.3An emergency takeoff by fighter aircraft.
  • 2A disordered mixture of things: the program produced a scramble of the letters of the alphabet
    More example sentences
    • Pro-democracy politicians have put the best face they can on a confusing scramble to realign their election strategy in advance of the September Legco election.
    • Back in Dili the next day the confusion created by the scramble of so many players in the campaign is on show for all to see and hear.
    • On some pieces the letters are outlined, resulting in a jumbled scramble of dirty lines and tainted colour.



Pronunciation: /-b(ə)liNG/
More example sentences
  • In the interest of supposed fairness, the order of names is not alphabetical but was determined by a scrambling of letters.
  • I bet those safeguards could be lifted with just a firmware revision to prevent the scrambling and encryption of the vehicle identities.
  • A frantic scrambling was heard as someone crashed into something and a low voice muttered, ‘Ow!’


late 16th century: imitative; compare with the dialect words scamble 'stumble' and cramble 'crawl'.

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