scrape by


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scrape by

1. To manage to survive or narrowly meet all of one's living requirements, despite having limited funds or resources. After John lost his job, we've had to scrape by on what's left of our savings. When I was on college, I scraped by on what I could earn as a part-time line cook.
2. To barely succeed or accomplish something by reaching a minimal or base level of acceptability. A: "Did you pass the test?" B: "Yeah, I managed to scrape by, but I was hoping to do better." Surprising many, the reigning champion only managed to scrape by the qualifying round.
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scrape by

(on something) and scrape by (with something) to manage just to get by with something. (Usually applies to a more specific period or time or a more specific event than scrape along (on something).) There is not really enough money to live on, and we just have to scrape by on what we can earn. We can't scrape by with only that amount of money.
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scrape by

(something) to manage just to get by something. I scraped by the man standing at the gate and got into the theater without a ticket. Mary scraped by the cart that was blocking the crowded hallway.
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scrape by

(with something) Go to scrape by (on something).
See also: scrape

scrape by

v.
1. To succeed just barely in managing or surviving, especially despite severely limited resources: When I was out of work, my family and I barely scraped by. We scraped by on just $3 a day.
2. To succeed at a level of minimal acceptability: The student just scraped by with a D average.
3. To succeed just barely in passing some obstacle, such as a competition or evaluation: The tennis player scraped by the third round with a narrow victory.
See also: scrape