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From Middle English scrapen, from Old Norse skrapa (to scrape, scratch) and Old English scrapian (to scrape, scratch), both from Proto-Germanic *skrapōną, *skrepaną (to scrape, scratch), from Proto-Indo-European *skreb- (to engrave). Cognate with Dutch schrapen (to scrape), schrappen (to strike through; to cancel; to scrap), schrabben (to scratch), German schrappen (to scrape), Danish skrabe (to scrape), Icelandic skrapa (to scrape), Walloon screper (to scrape), Latin scribō (dig with a pen, draw, write).


  • enPR: skrāp, IPA(key): /skɹeɪp/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪp


scrape (third-person singular simple present scrapes, present participle scraping, simple past and past participle scraped)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To draw (an object, especially a sharp or angular one), along (something) while exerting pressure.
    She scraped the wooden plate with her fingernails.
  2. (transitive) To remove (something) by drawing an object along in this manner.
    Scrape the chewing gum off with a knife.
  3. (transitive) To injure or damage by rubbing across a surface.
    She tripped on a rock and scraped her knee.
  4. (transitive) To barely manage to achieve.
    I scraped a pass in the exam.
  5. (transitive) To collect or gather, especially without regard to the quality of what is chosen.
    Just use whatever you can scrape together.
  6. (computing) To extract data by automated means from a format not intended to be machine-readable, such as a screenshot or a formatted web page.
  7. (intransitive) To occupy oneself with getting laboriously.
    He scraped and saved until he became rich.
  8. (transitive, intransitive) To play awkwardly and inharmoniously on a violin or similar instrument.
  9. To draw back the right foot along the ground or floor when making a bow.
  10. To express disapprobation of (a play, etc.) or to silence (a speaker) by drawing the feet back and forth upon the floor; usually with down.
    • 1841, Thomas Babington Macaulay, Warren Hastings
      All the various kinds of interest which 80 strongly against the accused , that his friends belong to the near and to the distant , to the were coughed and scraped down.


Derived terms[edit]



scrape (countable and uncountable, plural scrapes)

  1. A broad, shallow injury left by scraping (rather than a cut or a scratch).
    He fell on the sidewalk and got a scrape on his knee.
  2. (slang) A fight, especially a fistfight without weapons.
    He got in a scrape with the school bully.
  3. An awkward set of circumstances.
    I'm in a bit of a scrape — I've no money to buy my wife a birthday present.
    • 2020 December 2, “A life remembered: Stuart Baker”, in Rail, page 61:
      Stuart made us all laugh - his mischievous stories were told throughout his career and in later days featured some very senior politicians and railway managers. He certainly got into many scrapes over the years.
  4. (Britain, slang) A D and C or abortion; or, a miscarriage.
    • 1972, in U.S. Senate Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws, Abuse of psychiatry for political repression in the Soviet Union. Hearing, Ninety-second Congress, second session, United States Government Printing Office, page 127,
      It’s quite possible, in view of the diagnosis ‘danger of miscarriage’, that they might drag me off, give me a scrape and then say that the miscarriage began itself.
    • 1980, John Cobb, Babyshock: A Mother’s First Five Years, Hutchinson, page 232,
      In expert hands abortion nowadays is almost the same as having a scrape (D & C) and due to improved techniques such as suction termination, and improved lighter anaesthetic, most women feel no worse than having a tooth out.
    • 1985, Beverley Raphael, The Anatomy of Bereavement: a handbook for the caring professions, Routledge, →ISBN, page 236,
      The loss is significant to the woman and will be stated as such by her. For her it is not “nothing,” “just a scrape,” or “not a life.” It is the beginning of a baby. Years later, she may recall it not just as a miscarriage but also as a baby that was lost.
    • 1999, David Jenkins, Listening to Gynaecological Patients\ Problems, Springer, →ISBN, page 16,
      17.Have you had a scrape or curettage recently?
  5. A shallow depression used by ground birds as a nest; a nest scrape.
    • 1948, in Behaviour: An International Journal of Comparative Ethology, E. J. Brill, page 103,
      We knew from U. Weidmann’s work (1956) that Black-headed Gulls could be prevented from laying by offering them eggs on the empty scrape veil before […]
    • 2000, Charles A. Taylor, The Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia, Kingfisher Publications, →ISBN, page 85,
      The plover lays its eggs in a scrape on the ground. ¶ […] ¶ Birds’ nests can be little more than a scrape in the ground or a delicate structure of plant material, mud, and saliva.
    • 2006, Les Beletsky, Birds of the World, Johns Hopkins University Press, →ISBN, page 95,
      Turkey females place their eggs in a shallow scrape in a hidden spot on the ground. Young are born ready to leave the nest and feed themselves (eating insects for their first few weeks).
  6. (military) A shallow pit dug as a hideout.
    • 2014, Harry Turtledove, Hitler's War
      In between rounds, he dug a scrape for himself with his entrenching tool.
  7. (UK, slang) A shave.
    • 1945, Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire (page 66)
      A'm goin to the barber's for a scrape.
  8. (uncountable, UK, slang, obsolete) Cheap butter.
  9. (uncountable, UK, slang, obsolete) Butter laid on bread in the thinnest possible manner, as though laid on and scraped off again.


  • 2001, Carolyn Cooke, The Bostons, Houghton Mifflin Books, →ISBN, page 172–173,
    He could hear deer moo in the woods, smell their musk, spot a scrape in a birch tree twenty feet away.
  • 2005, Dragan Vujic, Hunting Farm Country Whitetails, iUniverse, →ISBN, page 58,
    Female whitetails periodically investigate scrapes created by specific bucks. As the doe approaches estrus and becomes receptive to breeding, she will urinate in a scrape as a sharp signal to the buck that she is ready for him.


Derived terms[edit]



  • (a shave; butter): 1873, John Camden Hotten, The Slang Dictionary