I have encounter this phrase in a few occasions but I couldn't fully understand the meaning of it.

In order to try and make this question more complete I searched the web for examples of this phrase:

From: HuffPost Politics

...his rhetoric is scratching the proverbial itch of Americans...

From: Working at Booking.com

Some of our most useful hacks inside the company have come from someone scratching the proverbial itch.

From: Detailgal Blog

My husband quit a solid job in the name of scratching the proverbial itch that hasn't gone away in over 10 years.

From these examples I figured that it should mean something around the lines of "solving something that bothers you", but I would like to confirm whether this is true and to what extent.

1 Answer 1


An itch, in a figurative sense is:

  • A restless desire or craving for something: an itch to travel.

The proverbial itch refers to the well-known "seven-year itch" which has a clear sexual connotation.

  • In a more general context it refer to doing something that you have probably wished for a long time to do but you didn't dare to.
  • Thanks! That totally makes sense. I didn't know about the "seven-year itch" term :)
    – Alfro
    Apr 21, 2016 at 10:33
  • Some more useful reading here:phrases.org.uk/meanings/seven-year-itch.html
    – user5267
    Apr 21, 2016 at 10:34
  • 1
    I agree with you about the metaphorical usage of itch here, but I don't think there's any intent to refer to anything sexual in the context of politics or work here, particularly in the case of the Booking.com one, where we're not talking about anyone leaving or being unfaithful in any way. Rather, it seems like just a more general sense of "something that annoys you until you fulfill it."
    – stangdon
    Apr 21, 2016 at 11:47
  • @stangdon- I said that the 7-year itch has a sexual connotation, not its more general usage.
    – user5267
    Apr 21, 2016 at 12:12
  • @Josh61 - but then what makes any of them particularly a reference to the 7-year itch, and not just a metaphorical use of itch in general?
    – stangdon
    Apr 21, 2016 at 13:58

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