Up to scratch/up to the mark

Origin of: Up to scratch/up to the mark

Up to scratch/up to the mark

These expressions have come to mean up to the required standard and date in their current figurative sense from the early 19th century. They derive from the earlier 18th century practice of scratching or marking a line in the ground to indicate the start of a foot or horse race. See also Scratch and Toe the line/mark.