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Scratch vs Streak - What's the difference?

scratch | streak |

As verbs the difference between scratch and streak

is that scratch is to rub a surface with a sharp object, especially by a living creature to remove itching with nails, claws, etc while streak is to have or obtain streaks.

As nouns the difference between scratch and streak

is that scratch is a disruption, mark or shallow cut on a surface made by scratching while streak is an irregular line left from smearing or motion.

As an adjective scratch

is for or consisting of preliminary or tentative, incomplete, etc. work.



  • To rub a surface with a sharp object, especially by a living creature to remove itching with nails, claws, etc.
  • Could you please scratch my back?
  • * Jonathan Swift
  • Be mindful, when invention fails, / To scratch your head, and bite your nails.
  • To rub the skin with rough material causing a sensation of irritation.
  • I don't like that new scarf because it scratches my neck.
  • To mark a surface with a sharp object, thereby leaving a scratch (noun).
  • A real diamond can easily scratch a pane of glass.
  • To remove, ignore or delete.
  • Scratch what I said earlier; I was wrong.
    When the favorite was scratched from the race, there was a riot at the betting windows.
  • (music) To produce a distinctive sound on a turntable by moving a vinyl record back and forth while manipulating the crossfader (see also ).
  • (billiards) To commit a foul in pool, as where the cue ball is put into a pocket or jumps off the table.
  • Embarrassingly, he scratched on the break, popping the cue completely off the table.
  • (billiards, dated, US) To score, not by skilful play but by some fortunate chance of the game.
  • To write or draw hastily or awkwardly.
  • * Jonathan Swift
  • Scratch out a pamphlet.
  • To dig or excavate with the claws.
  • Some animals scratch holes, in which they burrow.

    Derived terms

    * scratch one's head * scratch the surface * scratcher * scratchpad * scratchy * scratch an itch * Old Scratch


    * scrattle


  • (lb) A disruption, mark or shallow cut on a surface made by scratching.
  • :
  • :
  • *(William Shakespeare) (1564-1616)
  • *:God forbid a shallow scratch should drive / The prince of Wales from such a field as this.
  • *(Joseph Moxon) (1627-1691)
  • *:The coarse filemakes deep scratches in the work.
  • *1709 , (Matthew Prior), '' Henry and Emma, line 503
  • *:These nails with scratches deform my breast.
  • *
  • *:Thus, when he drew up instructions in lawyer language, he expressed the important words by an initial, a medial, or a final consonant, and made scratches for all the words between; his clerks, however, understood him very well.
  • *{{quote-book, year=1963, author=(Margery Allingham)
  • , title=(The China Governess) , chapter=Foreword citation , passage=A very neat old woman, still in her good outdoor coat and best beehive hat, was sitting at a polished mahogany table on whose surface there were several scored scratches so deep that a triangular piece of the veneer had come cleanly away, […].}}
  • An act of scratching the skin to alleviate an itch or irritation.
  • :
  • (lb)
  • #A starting line (originally and simply, a line scratched in the ground), as in boxing.
  • #:(Grose)
  • #A technical error of touching or surpassing the starting mark prior to the official start signal in the sporting events of long jump, discus, hammer throw, shot put, and similar. Originally the starting mark was a scratch on the ground but is now a board or precisely indicated mark.
  • #(lb) An aberration.
  • ##A foul in pool, as where the cue ball is put into a pocket or jumps off the table.
  • ## A shot which scores by chance and not as intended by the player; a fluke.
  • (label) Money.
  • *2006 , (Clive James), North Face of Soho , Picador 2007, p. 153:
  • *:He and Bruce cooked up a script together, and Bruce flew home to raise the scratch .
  • A feed, usually a mixture of a few common grains, given to chickens.
  • (lb) Minute, but tender and troublesome, excoriations, covered with scabs, upon the heels of horses which have been used where it is very wet or muddy.
  • *1887 , James Law, The Farmer's Veterinary Adviser
  • *:These are exemplified in the scurfy, scaly affections which appear in the bend of the knee (mallenders) and hock (sallenders) and on the lower parts of the limbs, by scratches , and by a scaly exfoliation.
  • A kind of wig covering only a portion of the head.
  • Derived terms

    * from scratch * scratch-built * start from scratch * Old Scratch


  • For or consisting of preliminary or tentative, incomplete, etc. work.
  • This is scratch paper, so go ahead and scribble whatever you want on it.
  • Hastily assembled; put together in a hurry or from disparate elements.
  • * 1988 , James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom , Oxford 2004, p. 740:
  • Bluecoats began crossing the James on June 14 and next day two corps approached Petersburg, which was held by Beauregard with a scratch force of 2,500.
  • (computing, from scratchpad) Relating to a data structure or recording medium attached to a machine for testing or temporary use.
  • Constructed from whatever materials are to hand.
  • (sports) (of a player) Of a standard high enough to play without a handicap, i.e. to compete without the benefit of a variation in scoring based on ability.
  • * {{quote-book
  • , year=1964 , author=Charles Price , title=The American golfer , page=48 , passage=... the shot that does most to make a genuine scratch golfer is the mashie shot up to the pin — not merely up to the green.}}
  • Made, done, or happening by chance; arranged with little or no preparation; determined by circumstances; haphazard.
  • a scratch''' team; a '''scratch''' crew for a boat race; a '''scratch shot in billiards
    a scratch race: one without restrictions regarding the entry of competitors

    Derived terms

    * scratch monkey * scratch sheet


    * * The Jargon File - Scratch



    (wikipedia streak)


    (en noun)
  • An irregular line left from smearing or motion.
  • *
  • , title= Mr. Pratt's Patients, chapter=1 , passage='Twas early June, the new grass was flourishing everywheres, the posies in the yard—peonies and such—in full bloom, the sun was shining, and the water of the bay was blue, with light green streaks where the shoal showed.}}
  • A continuous series of like events.
  • The color of the powder of a mineral. So called, because a simple field test for a mineral is to streak it against unglazed white porcelain.
  • A moth of the family Geometridae .
  • *
  • A tendency or characteristic, but not a dominant or pervasive one.
  • (shipbuilding) A strake.
  • A rung or round of a ladder.
  • Derived terms

    * streak of good luck


    (en verb)
  • To have or obtain streaks.
  • If you clean a window in direct sunlight, it will streak.
  • (slang) To run naked in public.
  • It was a pleasant game until some guy went streaking across the field.
  • To create streaks.
  • You will streak a window by cleaning it in direct sunlight.
  • To move very swiftly.
  • (obsolete, UK, Scotland) To stretch; to extend; hence, to lay out, as a dead body.
  • See also

    * losing streak * streaker * winning streak * talk a blue streak


    * * * * * *