from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To write hastily or sloppily.
  • intransitive verb To write something in a hasty or sloppy manner.
  • noun Sloppy, often illegible handwriting.
  • noun Something, such as a note, written hastily or sloppily.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To creep; crawl; by extension, to swarm with crawling things.
  • To draw or mark awkwardly and irregularly with a pen, pencil, or other marking implement; write awkwardly, hastily, or carelessly; scribble: as, to scrawl a letter; also, to make irregular lines or bad writing on: as, to scrawl a piece of paper.
  • To mark with irregular wandering or zigzag lines: as, eggs scrawled with black (natural marking).
  • To write unskilfully and inelegantly.
  • noun The young of the dog-crab.
  • noun A trawl.
  • noun A piece of unskilful or inelegant writing; also, a piece of hasty, bad writing.
  • noun In law, same as scroll-seal.
  • noun A ragged, broken branch of a tree; brushwood.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To write unskillfully and inelegantly.
  • intransitive verb obsolete See crawl.
  • noun Unskillful or inelegant writing; that which is unskillfully or inelegantly written.
  • transitive verb To draw or mark awkwardly and irregularly; to write hastily and carelessly; to scratch; to scribble.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An Irregular, possibly illegible handwriting.
  • noun A hastily, or carelessly written note etc.
  • verb transitive To write something hastily or illegibly.
  • verb intransitive To write in an irregular or illegible manner.

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

  • noun poor handwriting
  • verb write carelessly


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

[Perhaps from obsolete scrawl, to gesticulate, sprawl, from Middle English scrawlen, probably blend of sprawlen, to sprawl; see sprawl and craulen, to crawl; see crawl.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Possibly Middle English


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  • Of course his handwriting is on the scrawl. He is a doctor.

    June 18, 2007