from scratch

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From the scratch drawn in the ground serving as the starting line of a foot race. A runner “starting from scratch” received no handicap, but started at the beginning of the course.


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Prepositional phrase[edit]

from scratch

  1. (idiomatic) From the beginning; starting with no advantage or prior preparation.
    There were so many errors in the program that the programmer decided to rewrite it from scratch.
    When the writer finished writing his book, it was stolen and now he has to rewrite it from scratch.
    He had no money and no rich friends, so he had to build his business from scratch.
    • 1980, Cosmos, Carl Sagan
      If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.
  2. (idiomatic) From basic materials or raw ingredients.
    She said she wanted to build a new house from scratch.
    He was out of pancake mix so he had to make the batter from scratch.
    • 2002, The New Yorker
      He sat there Friday night and built an entire model ship from scratch.
    • 2019 October 23, Rail, page 21:
      "By having a research and design facility in north Derbyshire, we will once again build trains from scratch on our shores."

Related terms[edit]


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