From Middle English cratchen, cracchen (“to scratch”), alteration of *cratsen (“to scratch”), from Old Norse *kratsa or Middle Low German kratsen, krassen (“to scratch”), both ultimately from Old High German krazzōn, crazōn (“to scratch”), from Proto-Germanic *krattōną (“to scratch”), from Proto-Indo-European *gred-, *grod- (“to scratch, scrape”). Cognate with Icelandic krota (“to engrave”). Compare also Icelandic krassa (“to scrawl”), Danish kradse (“to scratch, scrape, claw”), Swedish kratsa (“to scratch”), Dutch kratsen (“to scratch”), German kratzen (“to scratch”).
From Middle English cratche, cracche, crecche (“crib”), from Old French creche (“crib, manger”), from Frankish *krippija (“crib”), akin to Old High German crippa, cripha (“crib”). More at creche, crib.
cratch (plural cratches)
- (obsolete) A grated crib or manger.
- Begin from first where He encradled was, / In simple cratch, wrapt in a wad of hay.
- (nautical) The vertical planks at the forward end of the hold of a traditional English narrowboat which constrain the cargo and support the top plank or walkway.
1966, Gervis Frere-Cook, The decorative arts of the mariner:
- The fore-end of the cargo space terminates in a triangular board, called the cratch, raised to the same height as the cabin roof and connected to it [...]