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scrawl

[skrawl] /skrɔl/
verb (used with object)
1.
to write or draw in a sprawling, awkward manner:
He scrawled his name hastily across the blackboard.
verb (used without object)
2.
to write awkwardly, carelessly, or illegibly.
noun
3.
awkward, careless, or illegible handwriting.
4.
something scrawled, as a letter or a note.
Origin
late Middle English
1605-1615
1605-15; perhaps to be identified with late Middle English scraule to sprawl, crawl (blend of sprawl and crawl)
Related forms
unscrawled, adjective
unscrawling, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for scrawl
  • Make notes of your notes in tiny scrawl so that they can fit on a single sheet of paper.
  • What they want is a blank slate on which to scrawl their dreams-a movie star.
  • And you have to applaud his leaping at any chance to scrawl graffiti over his gleaming iconography, which he virtually does here.
  • It means that nurses don't have to read the scrawl of doctors when they are trying to figure out what treatments to apply.
  • The handwriting varies from fine script to an almost unreadable scrawl.
  • The other one everyone thinks is a nuisance and people should not scrawl words on a public building.
  • There is not much of it, and the scrawl seems hasty.
British Dictionary definitions for scrawl

scrawl

/skrɔːl/
verb
1.
to write or draw (signs, words, etc) carelessly or hastily; scribble
noun
2.
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
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Word Origin and History for scrawl
v.

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
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