from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To move or climb hurriedly, especially on the hands and knees.
  • intransitive v. To struggle or contend frantically in order to get something: scrambled for the best seats.
  • intransitive v. To take off with all possible haste, as to intercept enemy aircraft.
  • intransitive v. Football To run around with the ball behind the line of scrimmage in order to avoid being tackled while searching for an open receiver.
  • intransitive v. Football To run forward with the ball when unable to complete an intended pass play. Used of a quarterback.
  • transitive v. To mix or throw together haphazardly.
  • transitive v. To gather together in a hurried or disorderly fashion.
  • transitive v. To cook (beaten eggs) until firm but with a soft consistency.
  • transitive v. Electronics To distort or garble (a signal) so as to render it unintelligible without a special receiver.
  • transitive v. To cause (aircraft) to take off as fast as possible, as to intercept enemy aircraft.
  • n. The act or an instance of scrambling.
  • n. An arduous hike or climb over rough terrain.
  • n. An unceremonious scuffle or struggle.
  • n. Sports See motocross.
  • n. A swift takeoff of military aircraft in response to an alert or attack.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • interj. shouted when something desirable is thrown into a group of people who individually want that item.
  • v. To move hurriedly to a location, especially by using all limbs against a surface.
  • v. To proceed to a location or an objective in a disorderly manner.
  • v. To thoroughly combine and cook as a loose mass.
  • v. To process (telecommunication signals) to make them unintelligible to an unauthorized listener.
  • v. To quickly enter (vehicles, usually aircraft) and proceed to a destination in response to an alert, usually to intercept an attacking enemy.
  • v. To partake in motocross.
  • v. To ascend rocky terrain as a leisure activity.
  • n. A rush or hurry
  • n. An emergency defensive air force mission to intercept attacking enemy aircraft.
  • n. A motocross race
  • n. Any frantic period of activity.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of scrambling, climbing on all fours, or clambering.
  • n. The act of jostling and pushing for something desired; eager and unceremonious struggle for what is thrown or held out.
  • intransitive v. To clamber with hands and knees; to scrabble.
  • intransitive v. To struggle eagerly with others for something thrown upon the ground; to go down upon all fours to seize something; to catch rudely at what is desired.
  • transitive v. To collect by scrambling.
  • transitive v. To prepare (eggs) as a dish for the table, by stirring the yolks and whites together while cooking.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To struggle or wriggle along as if on all fours; move on with difficulty or in a floundering manner, as by seizing objects with the hand and drawing the body forward: as, to scramble up a cliff; to scramble on in the world.
  • To struggle rudely or in a jostling manner with others for the purpose of grasping or getting something; strive eagerly, rudely, and without ceremony for or as if for something thrown on the ground: as, to scramble for pennies; to scramble for a living; to scramble for office.
  • To stir or toss together in a random fashion; mix and cook in a confused mass.
  • To throw down to be scrambled or struggled for: as, to scramble nuts.
  • To advance or push in a scrambling way.
  • In botany, to run or climb in all directions, especially over other plants. See scrambler, 2.
  • n. A walk or ramble in which there is clambering and struggling with obstacles.
  • n. An eager, rude contest or struggle for the possession of something offered or desired; an unceremonious jostling or pushing for the possession of something.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. bring into random order
  • n. an unceremonious and disorganized struggle
  • v. to move hurriedly
  • v. stir vigorously
  • v. make unintelligible
  • v. climb awkwardly, as if by scrambling
  • n. rushing about hastily in an undignified way


Perhaps blend of obsolete scamble, to struggle for, and dialectal cramble, to crawl.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Origin uncertain. Compare earlier dialectal scramb ("pull with hands"). (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.