“You moron, Dudley!” Harry yelled, his eyes watering with pain, as he scrambled to his hands and knees, now feeling around frantically in the blackness. —Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I get what "scramble to one's feet" means but what about knee and hands? It's quite hard to picture. Are they two separate postures, first to hands and then to knees?

  • 1
    I think it means "crawling".
    – user3214
    Jul 5, 2014 at 7:20
  • It's hands and knees together. You could scramble to your knees, and be kneeling, or scramble to your hands and knees, and be crawling.
    – Sydney
    Jul 5, 2014 at 7:37

3 Answers 3


It sounds to me like assuming a hands-and-knees position quickly and probably starting from a prone position.


Depending on what actually happened before this action. Either from a standing or a laying down position, quickly moving to your hands and knees, most probably because you need to search for something on the floor or you need to hide in Harry's situation.

Scramble being used to emphasis the speed and unpreparedness of the action.

Hope this helps!


One scrambles on one's hands and knees, not to them.

Or, if one is already on one's hands and knees, one can scramble to one's feet, i.e. to an erect standing position.

JK isn't using the word properly.

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