General English

  • noun a long mark made by a sharp point
  • verb to make a long wound on the skin
  • verb to make a mark on something with a sharp point
  • verb to rub a part of the body which itches with your fingernails


  • noun an area of memory or of a file used for the temporary storage of data
  • verb to delete or move an area of memory to provide room for other data


  • To score or groove a coat of plaster to provide a better bonding surface for a successive coat.


  • noun a crease, especially the popping crease
    CitationYour skill all depends upon distance and sight
    Stand firm to your scratch, let your bat be upright
    (Rev R. Cotton, ‘Hambledon Song’ 1778 in HM)


  • noun a slight wound on the skin made when a sharp point is pulled across it
  • verb to harm the skin by moving a sharp point across it


  • verb to draw a little line through a character to show that it is wrong


  • noun cash, ready money. This sense of the word has been in use since the end of the 19th century. It is either derived from the notion of ‘scratching a living’ or of banknotes which are ‘up to scratch’, i.e. genuine.


  • noun a person or team withdrawn from a race or competition

Origin & History of “scratch”

early middle English had two words for ‘scratch’ – scrat and cratch; and it seems likely that scratch represents a blend of them. where exactly they came from is not clear, although cratch is no doubt related to German kratzen ‘scratch’, and both probably had their origins in imitation of the sound of scratching.