—v.i. 1. to climb or move quickly using one's hands and feet, as down a rough incline.
2. to compete or struggle with others for possession or gain: The children scrambled for the coins we tossed. 3. to move hastily and with urgency: She scrambled into her coat and ran out the door. 4. Mil.(of pilots or aircraft) to take off as quickly as possible to intercept enemy planes.
—v.t. 1. to collect or organize (things) in a hurried or disorderly manner (often fol. by together or up): He scrambled the papers up from the desk. I scrambled the report together at the last minute. 2. to mix together confusedly: The teacher has hopelessly scrambled our names and faces. 3. to cause to move hastily, as if in panic: He scrambled everyone out of the burning building. 4. to cook (eggs) in a pan while stirring, usually after mixing whites and yolks together.
5. to make (a radio or telephonic message) incomprehensible to interceptors by systematically changing the transmission frequencies.
6. to mix the elements of (a television signal) so that only subscribers with a decoding box can receive the signal.
7. Mil.to cause (an intercepting aircraft or pilot) to take off in the shortest possible time, in response to an alert.
—n. 1. a quick climb or progression over rough, irregular ground.
2. a struggle for possession or gain: a scramble for choice seats in the stadium. 3. any disorderly or hasty struggle or proceeding.
4. Mil.an emergency takeoff of interceptors performed in the shortest possible time.