Definition of scavenge in English:


Line breaks: scav|enge
Pronunciation: /ˈskavɪn(d)ʒ


[with object]
  • 1Search for and collect (anything usable) from discarded waste: people sell junk scavenged from the garbage the city dump where the squatters scavenge to survive
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    • Many might not realize that plates on which their food is served in restaurants could be made from plastic waste scavenged from the city's streets.
    • Hoses were scavenged from wrecked buildings and appropriated from whole ones.
    • Our only backup unit has been scavenged for parts since our budget was slashed last year.
    rummage, search, hunt, look, forage, root about/around, scratch about/around, grub about/around
    rare mudlark
  • 1.1(Of an animal) search for (carrion) as food: the feral cat preferred to scavenge carrion from the forest floor [no object]: bears and wolves scavenged for carcasses
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    • Most unclean of all are those animals who are fed on refuse scraps, human or animal excrement, or who scavenge dead animals.
    • They are carnivorous, scavenging among carrion or preying on other molluscs.
    • Fish will scavenge for insects and plant life in the pond but will also benefit from an occasional feeding of fish food.
  • 1.2Search for discarded items or food in (a place): the mink is still commonly seen scavenging the beaches of California
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    • Expeditions would scavenge the desolate landscape for precious supplies, such as fuel and water.
    • This knowledge makes the idea of Victor Frankenstein scavenging graveyards for parts seem less shocking.
    • Even after the site was scavenged by locals, tons of debris and some sections of the lower-story sandstone walls remained above ground.
  • 2Remove (combustion products) from an internal-combustion engine cylinder on the return stroke of the piston: solid lead deposits of combustion would be scavenged from the engine
  • 3 Chemistry Combine with and remove (molecules, groups, etc.) from a particular medium: chlorine molecules can scavenge ozone at a very fast rate
    More example sentences
    • Melatonin also scavenges free radicals, and having low levels of this hormone has been linked to Alzheimer's disease.
    • They are compounds that scavenge free radicals of oxygen, unstable molecules given off by the body's many metabolic actions.
    • The administration of superoxide dismutase to scavenge superoxide anions was found to promote the survival rate of transplanted skin flaps.


mid 17th century (in the sense 'clean out (dirt)'): back-formation from scavenger.

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