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[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.
late Middle English
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for scrawled
  • That's true whether they're scrawled in the margins of a business meeting agenda or scribbled on a patient's chart.
  • Decipher a scrawled form or the zip code on an envelope.
  • He turned over another page and scrawled vigorously for the twenty minutes that was left of the hour.
  • Some manuscripts have yellowing, torn pages with notes scrawled around the margins.
  • Above this wainscoting of grime rose thousands of scrawled names.
  • Schoolboys scrawled anti-government graffiti on walls, and were jailed.
  • The pages are foxed, the margins filled with my scrawled notes.
  • The composer's signature was clearly scrawled across the flyleaf.
  • Many of the hand-scrawled signs lash out against corporations.
  • At one point, an algorithm used to rank chess players is scrawled on a dorm-room window in grease pencil.
British Dictionary definitions for scrawled


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
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Word Origin and History for scrawled



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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