Definition of scrimmage in English:



  • 1A confused struggle or fight.

    ‘there was a considerable scrimmage, with people anxious to obtain cabs’
    • ‘Different situations, and momentaneous scrimmages brought about this rivalry, and consequently led to many wars between the natives and settlers in the years to come.’
    • ‘This exhibition was as different as possible from our normal scrimmages.’
    • ‘And they were not able to make any scrimmages with any of our fighters in the city.’
    fight, battle, struggle, tussle, brawl, fracas, rumpus, melee, free-for-all, rough and tumble
    View synonyms
  • 2American Football
    mass noun A sequence of play beginning with the placing of the ball on the ground with its longest axis at right angles to the goal line.

    ‘Michigan was called for pass interference in the first play from scrimmage’
    • ‘Any kick from scrimmage must be made from behind the line to be legal.’
    • ‘On a play from scrimmage, if an offensive player fumbles anywhere on the field during fourth down, only the fumbling player is permitted to recover and/or advance the ball.’
    • ‘Later in the series, the next offense had a little bit better luck as the freshman running back gained 17 yards on the first play from scrimmage.’
    1. 2.1American Football count noun A session in which teams practise by playing a simulated game.
      • ‘Some online league play, customized team matches and plain scrimmages would definitely be a welcome addition to the game.’
      • ‘Owners decided that coaches would fill the additional schedule time produced by the elimination of two preseason games with additional intrasquad scrimmages.’
      • ‘After the rest of the drills, Coach broke them up into teams for scrimmages.’
      • ‘Varsity soccer teams will practice on the turf, saving the grass competition fields for games and scrimmages.’
      • ‘Kansas City's offensive line, nearing a record for most consecutive starts as a group, destroyed Minnesota's front seven during two days of scrimmages in August.’
      • ‘He has been declared healthy for the 2003 season, although the Badgers are holding him out of scrimmages as a precaution.’
      • ‘I'll have you know that I spend more time checking injury reports, reviewing practices and scrimmages, and comparing schedules and outcomes than most people spend sleeping.’
      • ‘Leading up to the season, the team has played a number of short scrimmages against local colleges.’
      • ‘Friday practices during the fall were usually scrimmages and Adrian had learned to look forward to them each week; but this week was different.’
      • ‘This included three thirty minutes scrimmages, followed by a twenty minute scrimmage.’
      • ‘I mean like… I've played with them, I've played against them in scrimmages, but never for real.’
      • ‘By the time scrimmages were over she knew that she'd managed to acquire a few more bruises.’


[with object]
  • 1American Football
    Engage in a scrimmage.

    ‘I recommended that we be able to scrimmage against other schools during the spring’
    • ‘Of course, it never helps to sprain an ankle halfway through by stepping on someone else's foot scrimmaging, and then continue to run on it…’
    • ‘When she got there, the girls were already scrimmaging.’
    • ‘We'll just be scrimmaging, and a few different drills, so I can see who you are and where I want to put you.’
    • ‘She was basically her rival on the soccer field when it came to scrimmaging because they always went at it.’
    • ‘By scrimmaging, players react under game conditions.’
    • ‘After that, he scrimmages before finishing with ten minutes of stretching.’
    1. 1.1with object Put (the ball) into a scrimmage.
      ‘Following a field goal, the non-scoring team may choose for play to resume either with a kickoff as above, or by scrimmaging the ball from its own 35-yard line.’


Late Middle English alteration of dialect scrimish, variant of the noun skirmish.