verb (used with object), scrab·bled, scrab·bling.
- to scratch or scrape, as with the claws or hands.
- to grapple or struggle with or as if with the claws or hands.
- to scrawl; scribble.
verb (used without object), scrab·bled, scrab·bling.
- to scratch or dig frantically with the hands; claw (often followed by at): scrabbling at a locked door to escape the flames.
- to jostle or struggle for possession of something; grab or collect something in a disorderly way; scramble.
- a scratching or scraping, as with the claws or hands.
- a scrawled or scribbled writing.
- a disorderly struggle for possession of something; scramble: After the fumble, there was a scrabble for the football.
- (intr; often foll by about or at) to scrape (at) or grope (for), as with hands or claws
- to struggle (with)
- (intr often foll by for) to struggle to gain possession, esp in a disorderly manner
- to scribble
- the act or an instance of scrabbling
- a scribble
- a disorderly struggle
- trademark a board game in which words are formed by placing lettered tiles in a pattern similar to a crossword puzzle
v.1530s, “to scrawl, scribble,” from Dutch schrabbelen, frequentative of schrabben “to scratch,” from the same root as scrape (v.). Meaning “to struggle, scramble” first recorded 1630s. Related: Scrabbled; scrabbling. n.board game, 1949, proprietary name (registered U.S.), probably from scribble-scrabble “hasty writing” (1580s), a reduplication of scribble (n.).