He sprang towards his captor in an ineffectual attempt to hit him, or to scratch out his eyes with his finger nails.
And she seized him like a fury, and tried to scratch out his eyes.
Ah, there you are, and a nice mess you have made of yourselves trying to scratch out a hole five hundred yards long.
By all the devils in hell, I'll scratch out his eyes with my own nails!
But you see they are ready to scratch out even my eyes at the thought that I have been rubbing her down the wrong way.
But you ought to be able to scratch out a deep enough hole to cram this in.
They had dropped unnoticed out of the ranks; and remained to scratch out a living among the abandoned claims.
I have a good mind to bite off their noses and scratch out their eyes.
I suppose they neglected to scratch out my name from the subscription; for Major Cerwood says it really came to me.
I think I must turn womankind altogether, and scratch out his eyes; for as long as he can see me, he'll ne'er let me go.
c.1400, probably a fusion of Middle English scratten and crachen, both meaning "to scratch," both of uncertain origin. Related: Scratched; scratching.
Billiards sense of "to hit the cue ball into a pocket" is first recorded 1909 (also, originally, itch), though earlier it meant "a lucky shot" (1850). Meaning "to withdraw (a horse) from a race" is 1865, from notion of scratching name off list of competitors; used in a non-sporting sense of "cancel a plan, etc." from 1680s. To scratch the surface "make only slight progress in penetrating or understanding" is from 1882. To scratch (one's) head as a gesture of perplexity is recorded from 1712.
1580s, "slight skin tear produced by a sharp thing," from scratch (v.). Meaning "mark or slight furrow in metal, etc." is from 1660s. American English slang sense of "money" is from 1914, of uncertain signification. Many figurative senses (e.g. up to scratch, originally "ready to meet one's opponent") are from sporting use for "line or mark drawn as a starting place," attested from 1778 (but the earliest use is figurative); meaning "nothing" (as in from scratch) is 1918, generalized from specific 19c. sporting sense of "starting point of a competitor who receives no odds in a handicap match." Sense in billiards is from 1850. Scratch-pad is attested from 1883.
in Old Scratch "the Devil," 1740, from earlier Scrat, from Old Norse skratte "goblin, wizard," a word which was used in late Old English to gloss "hermaphrodite;" probably originally "monster" (cf. Old High German scraz, scrato "satyr, wood demon," German Schratt, Old High German screz "a goblin, imp, dwarf;" borrowed from Germanic into Slavic, e.g. Polish skrzot "a goblin").
Hastily arranged; impromptu; spur of the moment; pickup: a scratch jazz ensemble (1851+)