verb (used with object), scrounged, scroung·ing.

  1. to borrow (a small amount or item) with no intention of repaying or returning it: to scrounge a cigarette.
  2. to gather together by foraging; seek out: We’ll try to scrounge enough food for supper from the neighbors.

verb (used without object), scrounged, scroung·ing.

  1. to borrow, especially a small item one is not expected to return or replace.


  1. a habitual borrower; sponger.
  2. an act or instance of scrounging.
  3. a person who exists by foraging.

Verb Phrases

  1. scrounge around, to search or forage for something, especially in a haphazard or disorganized fashion; hunt for: We scrounged around for something to eat.

verb informal

  1. (when intr, sometimes foll by around) to search in order to acquire (something) without cost
  2. to obtain or seek to obtain (something) by cadging or begging

v.“to acquire by irregular means,” 1915, alteration of dialectal scrunge “to search stealthily, rummage, pilfer” (1909), of uncertain origin, perhaps from dialectal scringe “to pry about;” or perhaps related to scrouge, scrooge “push, jostle” (1755, also Cockney slang for “a crowd”), probably suggestive of screw, squeeze. Popularized by the military in World War I. Related: Scrounged; scrounging.

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