Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Scratch (A).

 Scratch.Scratch Cradle. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Scratch (A).
One who in a race starts from the scratch, other runners in the same race being a yard or so in advance. The scratch runner generally is one who has already won a similar race.   1
   Coming up to the scratch—up to the mark; about to do what we want him to do. In prize-fighting a line is scratched on the ground, and the toe of the fighter must come up to the scratch.   2

 Scratch.Scratch Cradle. 


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