early 13c., scrapen, "make erasures (with a knife), erase" (a sense now obsolete); by late 14c. as "to remove (an outer layer) with a sharp or rough instrument," probably in part from Old Norse skrapa "to scrape, erase" and in part from cognate Old English scrapian "to scrape," both from Proto-Germanic *skrapojan (source also of Dutch schrapen, German schrappen), from PIE *skerb- (an extension of the root *sker- (1) "to cut").
The meaning "gather by great effort, collect with difficulty or by small savings" is from 1540s. From 1640s as "draw back the foot as a gesture of obeisance." By 1741 in the transitive sense of "rub harshly on (a surface) in passing along it so as to cause an abrasion or noise." Related: Scraped; scraping.
To scrape acquaintance "get on terms of acquaintance with by careful effort" is from c. 1600. To scrape the bottom of the barrel in the figurative sense of "make do with the most inferior or defective examples of what is wanted for want of any others" is by 1942, in reference to U.S. employers facing worker shortages during the war (the figurative bottom of the (cracker) barrel is by 1938).
mid-15c., "a scraping instrument;" late 15c., "act of scraping or scratching," from scrape (v.). By 1886 as "a scraping sound."
From 1620s as a type of awkward bow or gesture of obeisance, in which the foot is drawn, or "scraped," backward. The meaning "embarrassing or awkward predicament," usually due to imprudence or thoughtlessness, is by 1709, as OED suggests, probably "from the notion of being 'scraped' in going through a narrow passage." In old slang it could mean "a shave" (1859).
1550s, "instrument for scraping," originally a type of knife, agent noun from scrape (v.). Especially an iron implement at or near a door of a house from which to scrape dirt from the soles of shoes or boots" (1729). From 1560s as "miser, money-grubber;" 1610s as a derogatory term for a fiddler; 1792 as a contemptuous term for a barber. The earlier noun was Middle English scrapel (mid-14c.); also compare scrape (n.).
"a fight, struggle, tussle," 1846, possibly a dialectal variant of scrape (n.1) on the notion of "an abrasive encounter" [Century Dictionary]. Weekley and OED suggest obsolete colloquial scrap "scheme, villainy, vile intention" (1670s).
very tall urban building, 1888, in a Chicago context, from sky (n.) + agent noun of scrape (v.). Used earlier for "ornament atop a building" (1883), "very tall man" (1857), "high-flying bird" (1840), "light sail at the top of a mast" (1794), and the name of a racehorse (1789). Compare cognate French gratte-ciel, from gratter "to scrape" + ciel "sky;" German Wolkenkratzer, from Wolke "cloud" + Kratzer "scraper."
cloud-cleaver, an imaginary sail jokingly assumed to be carried by Yankee ships. [W. Clark Russell, "Sailors' Word Book," 1883]
[small piece, fragment] late 14c., scrappe, "piece of food remaining after a meal" (usually plural), from Old Norse skrap "scraps; trifles," from skrapa "to scrape, scratch, cut" (see scrape (v.)).
Hence, "any remnant or small, detached piece" (1580s), typically negative (not a scrap) or in reference to something written or printed. The dismissive term scrap of paper is attested by 1840, made infamous in 1914 by the German chancellor's comment when violating the treaty that guaranteed Belgian neutrality.
The meaning "remains of metal produced or collected after rolling or casting to be reworked" is from 1790. Scrap-iron is attested by 1794.
1580s (intransitive), "make one's way by clambering, etc., struggle or wriggle along," also "strive with others or jostle and grasp rudely for a share or for mastery;" a word of obscure origin, perhaps a nasalized variant of scrabble (v.) "to struggle; to scrape quickly." OED points to dialectal scramb "pull together with the hands," a variant of scramp, which is probably a nasalized form of scrape.
Mrs. Goddard was the mistress of a school, ... a real, honest, old fashioned boarding-school, where a reasonable quantity of accomplishments were sold at a reasonable price, and where girls might be sent to be out of the way, and scramble themselves into a little education, without any danger of coming back prodigies. [Jane Austen, "Emma"]
The transitive sense of "to stir or toss together randomly, cause to move confusedly" is from 1822. The transitive sense, in reference to radio signals, telephone voices, etc., "to make unintelligible," is attested from 1927, hence generally "to jumble, muddle." In U.S. football, in reference to a quarterback avoiding tacklers, by 1964. Related: Scrambled; scrambling. Scrambled eggs, broken into a pan, mixed with butter, salt, pepper, etc., and cooked slowly,is by 1843.