abrasive

1 of 2

adjective

abra·​sive ə-ˈbrā-siv How to pronounce abrasive (audio)
-ziv
1
: causing damage, wear, or removal of surface material by grinding or rubbing : tending to abrade
abrasive compounds for whitening teeth
an abrasive surface
2
: causing irritation
abrasive manners
an abrasive personality
abrasively adverb
abrasiveness noun

abrasive

2 of 2

noun

: a substance (such as emery or pumice) used for abrading, smoothing, or polishing
used an abrasive for polishing the rough stones

Did you know?

Abrasive Has Latin Roots

Once upon a time, English had abrade and abrase. While abrade remains a familiar word, abrase is rare but survives in abrasive. Both verbs come from abrādere, meaning "to remove by rubbing" or "to scrape off."

Example Sentences

Adjective The waves had an abrasive action on the rocks. an abrasive display of rude behavior
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Avoid using abrasive kitchen or household cleaners. Samantha S. Thorpe, Better Homes & Gardens, 3 Nov. 2022 The laser targets the hair follicle, so your skin doesn’t suffer through the abrasive action that razors, depilatories, or hot waxes can cause, such as breaking the skin’s protective surface. Noel Cody, Essence, 3 Nov. 2022 That decline is likely a result of the often abrasive discourse on Twitter but also a response to the platform’s struggle to innovate. WIRED, 28 Oct. 2022 The Solution Hoodie held up well to abrasive activities, including hauling beams and building a deck, and didn’t shrink or fade in the wash. Blair Braverman, Outside Online, 18 Oct. 2022 Apply the etching powder according to package instructions, which usually involves adding water and scrubbing with an abrasive pad. Alyssa Longobucco, House Beautiful, 17 Oct. 2022 The combo makes a thick, ever-so-abrasive paste that can help loosen really stubborn food particles without too much risk of scratching your pan’s surface, Castellano says. Marygrace Taylor, SELF, 12 Oct. 2022 This means fewer abrasive strokes, cuts, and irritations. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Oct. 2022 Twenty-nine years ago, the Sanderson sisters, an abrasive trio of siblings, put a spell on Disney audiences. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Sep. 2022
Noun
Baking soda is a gentle abrasive that cleans surfaces without scratching. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, 17 Aug. 2021 The tool has three sides, each with a different abrasive that’s designed for dry sharpening. Adrienne Donica, Popular Mechanics, 23 Feb. 2021 While the abrasive also has a big impact, slow-speed air sanders tend to bog down on softer surfaces like wood. Bob Beacham, chicagotribune.com, 12 Sep. 2020 Stubborn marks may need a gentle abrasive that won't scratch off paint finishes. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, 7 Aug. 2020 When using a whitening toothpaste, always be sure to apply it with a soft or extra-soft bristled toothbrush to help counter the harsh abrasives in the paste that scrub off stains, says Sammadar. Brittany Loggins, Health.com, 22 Apr. 2020 Though Clorox wipes are okay to use, Apple still advises against using bleach, aerosol sprays, and abrasives. Isabel Garcia, House Beautiful, 10 Mar. 2020 Specifically, the multi-heavy mineral prospect consists of abrasives garne and epidote, and zircon, magnetite and gold. Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Nov. 2019 The gentle abrasives in these formulas will help loosen stubborn residue that needs a bit of a nudge but isn’t totally welded onto your glass. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, 30 Apr. 2019 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Latin abrāsus, past participle of abrādere "to scrape off, abrade" + -ive

Noun

derivative of abrasive entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1850, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of abrasive was in 1601

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Dictionary Entries Near abrasive

Cite this Entry

“Abrasive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abrasive. Accessed 27 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

abrasive 1 of 2

adjective

abra·​sive ə-ˈbrā-siv How to pronounce abrasive (audio)
-ziv
: having the effect of abrading
abrasively adverb
abrasiveness noun

abrasive

2 of 2

noun

: a substance (as sand) used for grinding, smoothing, or polishing

Medical Definition

abrasive 1 of 2

adjective

abra·​sive ə-ˈbrā-siv How to pronounce abrasive (audio) -ziv How to pronounce abrasive (audio)
: tending to abrade
an abrasive substance
abrasiveness noun

abrasive

2 of 2

noun

: a substance (as emery or pumice) used for abrading, smoothing, or polishing

called also abradant

More from Merriam-Webster on abrasive

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