verb (used with object)
to break, mar, or mark the surface of by rubbing, scraping, or tearing with something sharp or rough: to scratch one's hand on a nail.
to dig, scrape, or tear (something) out or off with or as if with the nails, claws, etc.: to scratch the burs off one's coat.
to rub or scrape slightly, as with the fingernails, to relieve itching.
to rub or draw along a rough, grating surface: to scratch a match on the sidewalk.
to erase, cancel, strike out, or eliminate (a name, something written, etc.) by or as if by drawing a line through it (often followed by out ): Scratch out the third name on the list.
to withdraw (an entry) from a race or competition.
U.S. politics.
to divide (one's vote) though predominantly supporting one political party or faction.
to strike out or reject a particular name or names on (a party ticket) in voting.
to write or draw by scraping or cutting the lines into a surface: She scratched her initials on the glass.
to manipulate (a phonograph record) back and forth under the stylus to produce rhythmic sounds.
verb (used without object)
to use the nails, claws, etc., for tearing, digging, etc.
to relieve itching by rubbing or scraping lightly, as with the fingernails.
to make a slight grating noise, as a pen.
to earn a living or to manage in any respect with great difficulty: We scratched along that year on very little money.
to withdraw or be withdrawn from a contest or competition.
(in certain card games) to make no score; earn no points.
Billiards, Pool. to make a shot that results in a penalty, especially to pocket the cue ball without hitting the object ball.
a slight injury, mar, or mark, usually thin and shallow, caused by scratching: three scratches on my leg; a noticeable scratch on the table.
a rough mark made by a pen, pencil, etc.; scrawl.
an act of scratching.
the slight grating sound caused by scratching.
the starting place, starting time, or status of a competitor in a handicap who has no allowance and no penalty.
Billiards, Pool.
a shot resulting in a penalty, especially a pocketing of the cue ball without hitting the object ball.
a fluke or lucky shot.
(in certain card games) a score of zero; nothing.
Baseball. scratch hit.
Slang. money; cash.
used for hasty writing, notes, etc.: scratch paper.
without any allowance, penalty, or handicap, as a competitor or contestant.
Informal. done by or dependent on chance: a scratch shot.
Informal. gathered hastily and indiscriminately: a scratch crew.
done or made from scratch: a scratch cake.
from scratch,
from the very beginning or starting point.
from nothing; without resources: After the depression he started another business from scratch.
up to scratch, in conformity with a certain standard; adequate; satisfactory: The local symphony orchestra has improved this year, but it is still not up to scratch.

1425–75; late Middle English scracche (v.), blend of Middle English scratte to scratch, and cracche to scratch; cognate with Middle Dutch cratsen

scratchable, adjective
scratchably, adverb
scratcher, noun
scratchless, adjective
scratchlike, adjective
unscratchable, adjective
unscratched, adjective
unscratching, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
scratch (skrætʃ)
vb (often foll by at, out, off, etc) (sometimes foll by out) (sometimes foll by along) (often foll by for)
1.  to mark or cut (the surface of something) with a rough or sharp instrument
2.  to scrape (the surface of something), as with claws, nails, etc
3.  to scrape (the surface of the skin) with the nails, as to relieve itching
4.  to chafe or irritate (a surface, esp the skin)
5.  to make or cause to make a grating sound; scrape
6.  to erase by or as if by scraping
7.  (tr) to write or draw awkwardly
8.  to earn a living, manage, etc, with difficulty
9.  to withdraw (an entry) from a race, match, etc
10.  (intr) billiards, snooker
 a.  to make a shot resulting in a penalty
 b.  to make a lucky shot
11.  (US) (tr) to cancel (the name of a candidate) from a party ticket in an election
12.  informal (Austral) to be struggling or in difficulty, esp in earning a living
13.  to treat (a subject) superficially
14.  you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours if you will help me, I will help you
15.  the act of scratching
16.  a slight injury
17.  a mark made by scratching
18.  a slight grating sound
19.  in a handicap sport
 a.  a competitor or the status of a competitor who has no allowance or receives a penalty
 b.  (as modifier): a scratch player
20.  the time, initial score, etc, of such a competitor
21.  a.  the line from which competitors start in a race
 b.  (formerly) a line drawn on the floor of a prize ring at which the contestants stood to begin or continue fighting
22.  a withdrawn competitor in a race, etc
23.  billiards, snooker
 a.  a shot that results in a penalty, as when the cue ball enters the pocket
 b.  a lucky shot
24.  poultry food
25.  informal from scratch from the very beginning
26.  informal (usually used with a negative) up to scratch up to standard
27.  sport (of a team) assembled hastily
28.  (in a handicap sport) with no allowance or penalty
29.  informal rough or haphazard
[C15: via Old French escrater from Germanic; compare Old High German krazzōn (German kratzen); related to Old French gratter to grate1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1474, probably a fusion of M.E. scratten and crachen, both meaning "to scratch," both of uncertain origin. The noun is attested from 1586; slang sense of "money" is from 1914, of uncertain signification. Many figurative senses (e.g. up to scratch) are from sporting use for "line or mark drawn as a starting
place," attested from 1778 (but the earliest use is figurative); meaning "nothing" (in from scratch) is 1922, also from sporting sense of "starting point of a competitor who receives no odds in a handicap match." 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). Verb 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 1685.

in Old Scratch "the Devil," 1740, is from earlier Scrat, from O.N. skratte "goblin, monster," a word which was used in late O.E. for "hermaphrodite" (cf. O.H.G. scrato "satyr, wood demon").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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