American English

Definition of scratch noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] a mark, a cut, or an injury made by scratching someone's skin or the surface of something Her hands were covered in scratches from the thorns. a scratch on the paintwork It's only a scratch (= a very slight injury). He escaped without a scratch (= was not hurt at all).
  2. sound
  3. 2[singular] the unpleasant sound of something sharp or rough being rubbed against a surface
  4. with your nails
  5. 3[singular] the act of scratching a part of your body when it itches The dog had a good scratch.
  6. Idioms
      from scratch
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    1. 1without any previous preparation or knowledge I learned German from scratch in six months. He built the orchestra up from scratch.
    2. 2from the very beginning, not using any of the work done earlier They decided to dismantle the machine and start again from scratch.
    up to scratch
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    as good as something or someone should be synonym satisfactory His work just isn't up to scratch. It'll take months to bring the band up to scratch.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: scratch