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v. scrab·bled, scrab·bling, scrab·bles
1. To scrape or grope about frenetically with the hands or paws: "They often scrabbled through kitchen drawers looking for coins to buy bread" (Steve Friedman).
2. To move or climb with scrambling, disorderly haste: scrabbled down the rocks to the water.
3. To struggle or work hard in a disorderly or desperate fashion: "For quite some time I scrabbled around, playing the piano at jazz bars, doing whatever ... journalism I could get" (Frank Conroy).
4. To write hastily or make disordered markings; scribble.
1. To make or obtain by frenetic or desperate action: scrabble a living from soil depleted of nutrients.
a. To scrape or scratch (a surface): "Tubal got him a pointed rod / And scrabbled the earth for corn" (Rudyard Kipling).
b. To move or arrange hastily with the hands: "The next flat tombstone was covered with leaves. I scrabbled the dust away" (Ray Bradbury).
3. To scribble or write down hastily: scrabbled the answer on a sheet of paper.
1. The act or an instance of scrabbling.
2. A scribble; a doodle.

[Dutch schrabbelen, from Middle Dutch, frequentative of schrabben, to scrape; see sker- in Indo-European roots.]

scrab′bler n.
scrab′bly adj.


1. scrabbling or groping about
2. (Environmental Science) covered with stunted trees and scrub


(ˈskræb li)

adj. -bli•er, -bli•est.
scratchy; raspy.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.scrabbly - sparsely covered with stunted trees or vegetation and underbrush; "open scrubby woods"
wooded - covered with growing trees and bushes etc; "wooded land"; "a heavily wooded tract"