Try Our Apps


Gobble up these 8 terms for eating


[skrawl] /skrɔl/
verb (used with object)
to write or draw in a sprawling, awkward manner:
He scrawled his name hastily across the blackboard.
verb (used without object)
to write awkwardly, carelessly, or illegibly.
awkward, careless, or illegible handwriting.
something scrawled, as a letter or a note.
Origin of scrawl
late Middle English
1605-15; perhaps to be identified with late Middle English scraule to sprawl, crawl (blend of sprawl and crawl1)
Related forms
unscrawled, adjective
unscrawling, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for scrawl
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Considering how little she had to read Wanda must have been very deliberate in reading Wayne's scrawl.

    The Short Cut Jackson Gregory
  • That's Joe's own scrawl, and there ain't a worse from this to himself.

    A Day's Ride Charles James Lever
  • I want your help; I can make neither heads nor tails of the scrawl, though I sat up all night studying it.

    Curiosities of Olden Times S. Baring-Gould
  • Then, at last, he had gathered strength enough to scrawl these lines.

    Sacrifice Stephen French Whitman
  • He scowled a minute over Picton's scrawl, laid it down and gratified his curiosity by picking up the medal.

    Held for Orders Frank H. Spearman
  • He preferred to scrawl his initials to any typewritten letter which I prepared.

    The Minister of Evil William Le Queux
  • Where is that scrawl you received this evening from the woman whom you encountered with my daughter in the park?

  • My fear is that you will not be able to decipher the scrawl written so hastily.

    Behind the Scenes Elizabeth Keckley
British Dictionary definitions for scrawl


to write or draw (signs, words, etc) carelessly or hastily; scribble
careless or scribbled writing, drawing, or marks
Derived Forms
scrawler, noun
scrawly, adjective
Word Origin
C17: perhaps a blend of sprawl and crawl1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for scrawl

1610s, "write or draw untidily," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Middle English scrawlen "spread out the limbs, sprawl" (early 15c.), which possibly is an alteration of sprawlen (see sprawl (v.)) or crawl (v.). Related: Scrawled; scrawling. The noun is recorded from 1690s, from the verb. Meaning "bad handwriting" is from 1710.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for scrawl

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for scrawl