Words: scratch, n.
Thursday 09 December 1999
Scratch, a medieval merging of scrat and cratch, has many meanings. Among them, scratch is the position from which somebody starts in a race if he has no handicap, while the other scratch is a crease or border - in particular, as noted by Brewer's but not the Oxford English Dictionary, the 1839 Prize Ring Rules meant that a boxer was deemed to be knocked out if he could not get to a scratched line in the middle of the ring.
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