Definition of scrape in English:

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Pronunciation: /skrāp/


1 [with object] Push or pull a hard or sharp implement across (a surface or object) so as to remove dirt or other matter: rinse off the carrots and scrape them [with object and complement]: we scraped the dishes clean
More example sentences
  • Select a material for the porous dam that can be easily cleaned by scraping the surface.
  • Dip your brush lightly, scrape one side clean, then push a small blob of paint carefully along in front of the brush, like a bow wave in front of a boat.
  • Simply scrape the surface of the carrots with the blade of a sharp knife - and it wastes less carrot, too.
rake, drag, pull, tug, draw
1.1Use a sharp or hard implement to remove (dirt or unwanted matter) from something: she scraped the mud off her shoes
More example sentences
  • Watch it carefully to see when it begins to soften, then immediately remove the heat and scrape the adhesive off with a putty knife.
  • Kowalski scraped dirt from the machine until he uncovered the name of the manufacturer, which, luckily, was still in business.
  • He was scraping the dirt off of the hoof of a horse.
1.2Apply (a hard or sharp implement) to a surface so as to remove dirt or other matter: he scraped the razor across the stubble on his cheek
More example sentences
  • She saw him park and then she scraped her key along the side of his car, scratching the paint.
  • Now, I understand that there are a probably a host of reasons that one might want to spend their spare time scraping a razor along their most delicate of parts.
  • He walked out into the alleyway, scraping the knife along a brick wall and causing sparks to fly from the blade in the darkened alley.
1.3Make (a hollow) by scraping away soil or rock: he found a ditch, scraped a hole, and put the bag in it
More example sentences
  • We drove along a barely made road that petered out into a dirt track scraped out of the red sandy soil.
  • Elsewhere in Sri Lanka, residents took on burial efforts with forks or even bare hands to scrape a final resting place for victims.
scoop out, hollow out, dig (out), excavate, gouge out
2Rub or cause to rub by accident against a rough or hard surface, causing damage or injury: [no object]: he smashed into the wall and felt his knee scrape against the plaster [with object]: she reversed in a reckless sweep, scraping the left front fender
More example sentences
  • Kent slapped the cuffs on both of us, and then tugged cruelly on them, making them scrape against our skin.
  • Her chin scraped against the rough bark of a fallen tree trunk and her arm twisted painfully beneath her.
  • She felt herself being caught and held, her cheek scraping against the rough concrete as he pulled her upwards.
graze, scratch, abrade, scuff, rasp, skin, rub raw, cut, lacerate, bark, chafe;
Medicine  excoriate
2.1 [with object] Draw or move (something) along or over something else, making a harsh noise: she scraped back her chair and stood up
More example sentences
  • Chairs were scraped back and many of the men exited the dining room at the news and Arial glanced after them impatiently.
  • Biting into this is almost a miniature version of scraping your fingernails along a blackboard.
  • Raven shook his head and scraped his foot along the tiles until they squeaked their protest.
2.2 [no object] Move with or make a harsh scraping sound: she lifted the gate to prevent its scraping along the ground
More example sentences
  • Kael looked up at the sound of the chair scraping back along the ground.
  • Josephine nodded in my direction and I heard the sound of a chair scraping against the wooden floor.
  • The van's sliding door scraped open and three kids got out; a boy and a girl in their early teens, and another boy a few years younger.
grate, creak, rasp, grind, scratch
2.3 [no object] humorous Play a violin or similar stringed instrument tunelessly: Katie was scraping away at her cello
More example sentences
  • The drones and bleeps give way to the empty spaces of ‘Native Einstein’, whose bells and cymbals and scraping violins seem to speak of desolation and loss.
2.4 [with object] Draw one’s hair tightly back off the forehead: her hair was scraped back into a ponytail
More example sentences
  • It certainly isn't a glamorous photo - I wasn't wearing any make-up, my hair was scraped back and my clothes look crumpled and unflattering.
  • Dressed all in black with high-heeled boots, her hair is scraped back in a ponytail, revealing sculpted cheekbones.
  • He wrote, ‘She is known for scraping her hair back into an ultra-tight, skin-tautening ponytail dubbed the Croydon facelift.‘
3 [with object] Just manage to achieve; accomplish with great effort or difficulty: for some years he scraped a living as a tutor
More example sentences
  • Though they had difficulty scraping a living, they somehow managed to feed, clothe and even send to school their army of poor kids.
  • I was bright enough to spot something that needed to be done and made it mine to some extent and scraped a living out of it.
  • If they do manage to scrape a living, they say, it is by running more cows with less help and working 70-80 hours a week themselves.
3.1 (scrape something together/up) Collect or accumulate something with difficulty: they could hardly scrape up enough money for one ticket, let alone two
More example sentences
  • The surviving examples have been scraped up by serious collectors or modified into later models.
  • Smith has built something from virtually nothing, scraping a festival together and building it slowly over decades.
  • The website doesn't contain contact information for any of their MPs, and only a few incomplete details can be scraped together from the Government Portal.
3.2 [no object] Try to save as much money as possible; economize: they had scrimped and scraped and saved for years
More example sentences
  • I scrimped and scraped to get everything they wanted.
  • When she was their age, she thinks, we had to scrimp and scrape for soap.
  • In reality it is a country sharply divided between a privileged segment of society and millions of workers and middle class people scraping ever harder to make a living.
3.3 [no object] (scrape by/along) Manage to live with difficulty: she has to scrape by on Social Security
More example sentences
  • These are old-timers that came up through the Depression, scraping by and living the hard way.
  • He was barely making enough to scrape by already, living with friends, buying insulin and test strips and such without script insurance, making his payments to the credit counseling place.
  • He managed to scrape by, staying at shelters or with friends and getting after-school work at restaurants.
manage, cope, survive, muddle through/along, make ends meet, get by/along, make do, keep the wolf from the door, keep one's head above water, eke out a living
informal make out
3.4 [no object] Narrowly pass by or through something: there was only just room to scrape through between the tree and the edge of the stream
3.5 [no object] Barely manage to succeed in a particular undertaking: Clinton scraped into office in 1992 he scraped through the entrance exam
More example sentences
  • The band barely scraped into the Sophos list at number nine.
  • Claims like those should make anyone suspicious, even those who have barely scraped through high school biology.
  • He arrived in Athens ranked sixth in the world, but only just scraped into the semi-finals after qualifying in 16th place.
4 [with object] Copy (data) from a website using a computer program: all search engines scrape content from sites without permission and display it on their own sites
More example sentences
  • It may simply be that others have taken the photos and copied them on free sites - which the search engine scraped.
  • The site looks nice, probably scraped from a legitimate site.
  • A number of not just the Realtor sites, but the actual broker sites, are being scraped.


1An act or sound of scraping: he heard the scrape of his mother’s key in the lock
More example sentences
  • The second movement begins with percussion sounds (cymbal scrapes and maracas).
  • Passing under the breezeways, there was no sound but the scrape of plastic and concrete, twine and dry skin.
  • The whole mess was eerily silent, the only sound the scrape of spoons.
grating, creaking, grinding, rasp, rasping, scratch, scratching
1.1An injury or mark caused by scraping: there was a long, shallow scrape on his shin
More example sentences
  • The victim received injuries consisting of scrapes and bruises, however, she was able to fend off her attacker.
  • The injuries are more than scrapes and bruises.
  • The difficulty in manoeuvring the wheelchair through the narrow house shows in the scrapes and marks on the walls.
graze, scratch, abrasion, cut, laceration, wound
1.2A place where soil has been scraped away, especially a shallow hollow formed in the ground by a bird during a courtship display or for nesting.
Example sentences
  • New Zealand quail nests were shallow scrapes in the ground with grass lining.
  • While the female builds the nest, a shallow scrape lined with grass and leaves, the male stands guard.
  • Both sexes help to make a shallow scrape in soil or sand, which they line with vegetation and other debris.
1.3 Medicine , informal A procedure of dilatation of the cervix and curettage of the uterus, or the result of this.
1.4 archaic An obsequious bow in which one foot is drawn backward along the ground.
2 informal An embarrassing or difficult predicament caused by one’s own unwise behavior: he’d been in worse scrapes than this before now
More example sentences
  • For Mr Morgan, it may provide the toughest test yet of his durability as Mirror editor following a series of difficult scrapes.
  • Thus small-time con man Moss gets mixed up with real villains and, predictably, blackly comic scrapes ensue.
  • He has a fortunate knack of emerging victorious from difficult scrapes.
predicament, plight, tight corner/spot, ticklish/tricky situation, problem, crisis, mess, muddle
informal jam, fix, stew, bind, hole, hot water, a pretty/fine kettle of fish



scrape acquaintance with

dated Contrive to get to know: aboard the ship, a nice girl scraped acquaintance with me
More example sentences
  • ’‘And then they pretend to scrape acquaintance with us again,’ said the lady.

scrape the bottom of the barrel

informal Be reduced to using things or people of the poorest quality because there is nothing else available.
Example sentences
  • The city doesn't have to scrape the barrel and show us up so much that we are reduced to selling the civic number plates.
  • So far we've relived all the favored decades of the 20th century and are now scraping the bottom of the barrel - we have finally made it to the 80s.
  • The senseless killing of several citizens in a cruel heartless manner is indicative of our little country scraping the bottom of the barrel of human kindness.


Old English scrapian 'scratch with the fingernails', of Germanic origin, reinforced in Middle English by Old Norse skrapa or Middle Dutch schrapen 'to scratch'.

  • Old English scrapian meant ‘scratch with the fingernails’. The sense ‘awkward predicament’ (got himself into a scrape) dates from the early 18th century and is probably from the notion of being ‘scraped’, making one's way along a narrow passage. This sense may be behind the use of scrap (late 17th century) for ‘to fight’, while scrap (Late Middle English) for small piece originally referred to food, and comes from the Old Norse equivalent of scrape.

Words that rhyme with scrape

agape, ape, cape, chape, crape, crêpe, drape, escape, gape, grape, jape, misshape, nape, rape, shape, tape

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: scrape

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