What does ‘scratch by’ mean?
The idiom scratch by means to manage or survive with great difficulty or with minimal resources. It implies barely meeting minimum standards or achieving a minimum level of success.
Unraveling "Scratch By"
Based on the available information concerning the idiom "scratch by," it can be determined that this phrase is primarily used in informal situations and is most commonly found in American English.
One key fact about the idiom is that it is classified as an idiomatic verb phrase, with "scratch" functioning as the verb and "by" serving as a preposition.
The meaning of the idiom "scratch by" refers to barely managing to do or achieve something, often with great difficulty or with limited resources. The term implies a struggle or hardship in reaching a goal or accomplishing a task.
It is important to note that this idiom is often used in the negative sense, such as "I can't scratch by on my current salary" or "He barely scratches by from paycheck to paycheck."
The origin of the idiom is not entirely clear, as there are no specific historical or etymological records that provide a definitive origin story for "scratch by."
However, it can be inferred that the idiom may have derived from the physical act of scratching, which often involves a repetitive, uncomfortable motion. The notion of barely scraping or struggling to achieve something may have been metaphorically linked to this action, giving rise to the idiom "scratch by."
While the idiom itself has limited variations or alternative forms, it is worth mentioning that related expressions, such as "just scraping by," "barely making ends meet," or "surviving paycheck to paycheck," convey similar meanings and are frequently used interchangeably.
The idiom "scratch by" is an informal American English expression that signifies the difficulty or struggle involved in barely managing to do or achieve something. Although its exact origin remains uncertain, the metaphorical association with the physical act of scratching suggests a sense of discomfort or strain in reaching a goal.
The phrase "by the skin of one's teeth" shares a similar meaning to "scratch by." It also conveys the idea of narrowly or barely managing to accomplish something. The phrase often suggests that success was achieved just in time and by a very small margin, emphasizing the difficulty or struggle involved.
"scrape through" is another related idiom that is similar in meaning to "scratch by." It describes barely managing to succeed or pass a test or other challenging situation. The phrase implies that the outcome was achieved with great difficulty or by the smallest of margins.
The idiom "scratch by" can be used in various contexts, such as describing financial struggles, academic challenges, or overcoming obstacles in general. Its usage reflects the common experiences of individuals who face difficult circumstances and manage to persevere despite limited resources or challenging conditions.
The idiom "scratch by" is an informal American English expression that conveys the difficulty or struggle involved in barely managing to do or achieve something. While its exact origin is uncertain, the metaphorical association with the physical act of scratching suggests a sense of discomfort or strain in reaching a goal. The idiom is often used in the negative sense and can be related to other expressions such as "by the skin of one's teeth" and "scrape through." Its presence in colloquial language reflects the challenges and resilience of human experience.
Examples of how the idiom *scratch by* can be used in a sentence:
- He could only scratch by with his meager income.
- They managed to scratch by during the financial crisis by cutting expenses.
- Despite facing numerous obstacles, she was able to scratch by and achieve her goals.