Cartoon by Jeff Stahler of The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) published on 29 September 2009.
From the very beginning, from the outset; from nothing. For example, I knew we'd have a problem from scratch. Similarly, to start from scratch means "to start from the very beginning," as in After the business failed, they decided to reorganize and start from scratch. This term comes from racing, where a competitor starts from the line scratched into the ground (whereas others may start ahead with a handicap). [Mid-1800s] (www.answers.com)
- We often use this term in cooking to mean that you used basic ingredients and not any from a can or a box. For example, if you like to make your own cakes starting from flour, eggs, milk, etc., you can say, “I made this cake from scratch.”