To scrawl is to write in a quick, barely readable scribble. When you're signing a document, you might scrawl your name across the bottom.

Doctors are well-known for the way they scrawl prescriptions on a pad, and you can refer to that chicken scratch handwriting itself as a scrawl. It's not easy to read someone's scrawl, which is careless and rushed. The origin of scrawl is (fittingly) unclear, although one guess connects it to the Middle English scrawlen, "spread out the limbs" or "sprawl."

Definitions of scrawl
  1. verb
    write carelessly
    synonyms: scribble
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    type of:
    mark or trace on a surface
  2. noun
    poor handwriting
    synonyms: cacography, scratch, scribble
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    chicken scratch
    cramped or illegible handwriting
    an illegible scrawl
    type of:
    hand, handwriting, script
    something written by hand
Word Family

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