1. Sports & Games
a. A usually numerical record of a competitive event: keeping score.
b. The total number of points made by each competitor or side in a contest, either final or at a given stage: The score stood tied in the bottom of the ninth inning.
c. The number of points attributed to a competitor or team.
2. A result, usually expressed numerically, of a test or examination.
a. An amount due; a debt.
b. A grievance that is harbored and requires satisfaction: settle an old score.
4. A ground; a reason: You have nothing to worry about on that score.
5. A group of 20 items.
6. scores Large numbers: Scores of people attended the rally.
a. The notation of a musical work.
b. The written form of a composition for orchestral or vocal parts.
c. The music written for a film or a play.
a. The act of securing an advantage, especially a surprising or significant gain: "He had dropped out of school and gone for that quick dollar, that big score" (Peter Goldman).
b. The act or an instance of buying illicit drugs.
c. A successful robbery.
d. An instance of having sexual intercourse with a desired partner.
9. A notch or incision, especially one that is made to keep a tally.
v. scored, scor·ing, scores
1. To achieve or accomplish: scored a success in the play.
2. Sports & Games
a. To achieve or gain in a game or contest: score a touchdown.
b. To count or be worth as points: A basket scores two points.
c. To keep a written record of the score or events of (a game or contest).
d. Baseball To cause (a base runner) to cross home plate, especially by getting a hit: scored both runners with a double.
3. To evaluate and assign a grade to: score a test.
a. To orchestrate (a piece of music).
b. To arrange for a specific instrument.
5. To criticize cuttingly; berate.
a. To succeed in acquiring: scored two tickets to the play.
b. To succeed in obtaining (an illicit drug): "Aging punks try to impress her with tales of ... the different drugs they've scored" (Art Jahnke).
a. To mark (a piece of paper or wood, for example) with lines or notches, especially for the purpose of keeping a record.
b. To cancel or eliminate by superimposing lines.
c. To mark the surface of (meat, for example) with usually parallel cuts.
1. Sports & Games
a. To make a point or points in a game or contest.
b. To record the score or progress of a game or contest.
a. To achieve a purpose or advantage, especially to make a surprising gain or coup: "They ... score in places like the bond market" (Mike Barnicle).
b. To succeed in having sexual relations with a desired partner.
c. To succeed in buying or obtaining an illicit drug.
[Middle English, crack, scratch, tally stick, tally of twenty, from Old English scoru (attested only in the sense "twenty"), from Old Norse skor, notch, tally stick, tally of twenty; see sker-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.