abor·tive | \ə-ˈbȯr-tiv \

Definition of abortive 

1 obsolete : prematurely born

3 : imperfectly formed or developed

4 : tending to cut short

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Other Words from abortive

abortively adverb
abortiveness noun

Examples of abortive in a Sentence

an abortive attempt to recover the sunken pirate ship

Recent Examples on the Web

In France three months of labour strikes at SNCF, the state rail firm, have made millions late for work every week and chaos marks Britain’s railways after an abortive timetable change on May 20th. The Economist, "European state rail firms face scrappy new competitors," 28 June 2018 And will anyone really want to watch a movie about foolish people who during one abortive attempt to make off with the oversize volume of ornithological prints disguise themselves badly as elderly men? Michael O’sullivan, kansascity, "‘American Animals’: True crime that’s entertaining and profound," 21 June 2018 North Korea emerges from an abortive summit with President Donald Trump with its nuclear program intact and with more breathing room on sanctions, as the U.S. now has reduced leverage to extend its campaign of economic pressure. Jonathan Cheng, WSJ, "North Korea Gains Some Breathing Room After Cancellation of Summit," 25 May 2018 But Halo Online was more interesting than just an abortive experiment. Julie Muncy, WIRED, "Saying Goodbye to the Fan Game That Recreated a Decade-Old Classic," 11 May 2018 The JPMorgan Chase Philly push follows an abortive effort to enter the Philly region by Citibank, JPMorgan’s New York rival, in the 2000s. Joseph N. Distefano, Philly.com, "JPMorgan Chase plans new branches in Philly and beyond," 11 Apr. 2018 The abortive approach is one of a number GE has received for various businesses recently as competitors seek to gain advantage from its weakness, and shows how the once-mighty company’s fortunes have fallen. Thomas Gryta, WSJ, "Danaher Approached GE About Deal for GE’s Life-Sciences Unit," 25 Apr. 2018 That document cites only the abortive 2013 drug and gun bust that led to Walker and Farrell each pleading guilty to conduct unbecoming an officer. Mark Fazlollah, Philly.com, "List of 'troubled' Philadelphia police filled with inconsistencies," 16 Mar. 2018 Various external forces coincided to make Kuma’s flirtation with monumental excrescences an abortive one. Nikil Saval, New York Times, "Kengo Kuma’s Architecture of the Future," 15 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abortive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of abortive

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for abortive

Middle English abortyffe, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French abbortif, borrowed from Latin abortīvus, from abortus, past participle of aborīrī "to miscarry, abort entry 1" + -īvus -ive

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The first known use of abortive was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of abortive

: failing to achieve the desired result : not successful


abor·tive | \ə-ˈbȯrt-iv \

Medical Definition of abortive 

1 : imperfectly formed or developed : rudimentary

2a : abortifacient

b : cutting short abortive treatment of pneumonia

c : failing to develop completely or typically an abortive case of poliomyelitis

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