scratch Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary

Definition of “scratch” - English Dictionary

"scratch" in American English

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scratchverb [I/T]

 us   /skrætʃ/

scratch verb [I/T] (CUT)

to ​cut or ​damage a ​surface with something ​sharp or ​rough, or to ​rub a ​part of ​yourbody with something ​sharp or ​rough: [T] He used a ​penknife to scratch his ​initials into the ​bark of the ​tree. [I] You can ​hold the ​cat – she won’t scratch. If you scratch ​yourskin, you ​rub it with the ​nails of ​yourfingers: [T] I ​know they ​itch, but don’t scratch ​yourmosquitobites.

scratch verb [I/T] (REMOVE)

to ​remove yourself or another ​person or an ​animal from a ​competition before the ​start: [I] Mary Slaney scratched from the 1500-meter ​run because of an ​Achillestendonproblem. To scratch is also to ​decide not to do something that you had ​planned to do; to ​cancel: [T] We were going to ​remodelourkitchen, but we had to scratch that when I ​lost my ​job.

scratchnoun [C]

 us   /skrætʃ/
a ​cut or ​mark that is made in a ​surface with something ​sharp or ​rough: Tiny ​particles of ​carwaxfill in the little scratches on the ​car.
(Definition of scratch from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"scratch" in British English

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uk   us   /skrætʃ/

scratch verb (CUT)

B2 [I or T] to ​cut or ​damage a ​surface or ​yourskinslightly with or on something ​sharp or ​rough: We scratched the ​walltrying to get the ​bed into Martha's ​room. Be ​careful not to scratch ​yourself on the ​roses. A few ​chickens were scratching about/around (= ​searching with ​theirbeaks) in the ​yard forgrain.B2 [T] If you scratch something on or off a ​surface, you ​add it or ​remove it by scratching: People have been scratching ​theirnames on this ​rock for ​years. I scratched some ​paint off the ​door as I was getting out of the ​car.B2 [I] If an ​animal scratches, it ​rubs something with ​its claws (= ​sharpnails): The dog's scratching at the ​door - he ​wants to be ​let in.B2 [I or T] to ​rubyourskin with ​yournails: He was scratching (at) his ​mosquitobites. Hannah scratched her ​headthoughtfully.
More examples

scratch verb (REMOVE)

[I or T] to ​remove yourself or another ​person or an ​animal from a ​competition before the ​start: The ​worldchampion scratched from the 800 ​metres after ​injuring herself the ​day before. They scratched the ​horse from the ​race because she had ​becomelame.

scratch verb (STOP)

[T] (UK usually scrub) informal to ​decide not to do something you had ​planned to do: We had to scratch ​ourplans when I ​lost my ​job.


uk   us   /skrætʃ/
B2 [C] a ​mark made by scratching: Her ​legs were ​covered in scratches and ​bruises after her ​walk through the ​forest. There was a scratch on the CD. Amazingly, he ​survived the ​accident without a scratch (= without ​suffering any ​injuries at all). [S] UK an ​act of scratching: That ​dog is having a good scratch. It must have ​fleas.


uk   us   /skrætʃ/ UK
scratch team/side/orchestra a ​group of ​peoplebrought together in a ​hurry in ​order to ​play together on a ​particularoccasion
(Definition of scratch from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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