Start from Scratch (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Start from Scratch"?

The term "start from scratch" means to do it all over again from the beginning.
Start from Scratch (Origin)

Examples of Use:

  • I spilled black ink down the canvas. Now I have to start from scratch.
  • As no one had written about this topic before, the PhD student had to start his research from scratch.
  • I've lost count thanks to you. I'll have to start from scratch now!
In the term "start from scratch," the word "scratch" refers to a line marked on the ground. Such "scratches" were used to mark starting lines in running, creases in cricket, and starting positions for boxers, who would be instructed to "toe the scratch" before a bout. The word "scratch" is also used to describe a golfer with no handicap. This stems from the idea that the "scratch golfer" starts from the starting line and not given an advantage by starting ahead of it, as children might in a parents-vs-kids race.

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