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Bauernrauferei beim Kartenspiel (Smallholders Playing Cards, c. 1630–1640) by Flemish painter Adriaen Brouwer


Possibly of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish skuff ‎(a push) and skuffa ‎(to push), from the Proto-Germanic base *skuf- (skuƀ).



scuffle ‎(plural scuffles)

  1. A rough, disorderly fight or struggle at close quarters.
    • 1692, Roger L'Estrange, Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists: A Scruffy Dog and his Master
      The dog leaps upon the serpent, and tears it to pieces; but in the scuffle the cradle happen'd to be overturn'd.
    • 2016 June 11, Phil McNulty, “England 1–1 Russia”, in BBC Sport[1], archived from the original on 13 June 2016:
      Fights ensued as many England supporters attempted to retreat before some stewards moved in. Intermittent scuffles continued to break out until the section of the crowd where the trouble started was vacated.
  2. A Dutch hoe, manipulated by both pushing and pulling.
  3. (archaic) A child's pinafore or bib.




scuffle ‎(third-person singular simple present scuffles, present participle scuffling, simple past and past participle scuffled)

  1. (intransitive) To fight or struggle confusedly at close quarters.
    • Eikon Basilike
      A gallant man had rather fight to great disadvantage in the field, in an orderly way, than scuffle with an undisciplined rabble.
  2. (intransitive) To walk with a shuffling gait.
  3. (slang) To make a living with difficulty, getting by on a low income, to struggle financially.