aver·​sive | \ ə-ˈvər-siv How to pronounce aversive (audio) , -ziv \

Definition of aversive

: tending to avoid or causing avoidance of a noxious or punishing stimulus behavior modification by aversive stimulation

Other Words from aversive

aversively adverb
aversiveness noun

Examples of aversive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Gamma-undecalactone generally smells fatty and aversive. Scott Sayare, Harper's Magazine, 23 Nov. 2021 The take-home message is that if someone smells aversive, others may avoid being in close proximity, which is a pretty reasonable strategy for avoiding potential infections. Sarah Everts, Time, 21 July 2021 When a panel of people smelled the collection T-shirts, panelists found the body odor of people whose immune systems had been activated by the endotoxin to be more aversive than normal body odor. Sarah Everts, Time, 21 July 2021 A day later, a rat injected with harmless saline remembers the aversive shock, steering clear of the triangular zone. Gary Stix, Scientific American, 12 May 2012 Difficult tasks, and particularly tasks involving heavy mental investment, come with an aversive experience of mental effort. David Badre, Scientific American, 24 Jan. 2021 One study found that dogs trained with aversive methods looked at their owners less frequently than dogs trained with positive reinforcement. Linda Lombardi, chicagotribune.com, 1 Oct. 2019 The researchers think this pattern of brain activity disrupts transmission of aversive signals in the mPFC-dPAG circuit, reducing sensitivity to punishment. Simon Makin, Scientific American, 21 Nov. 2019 The prefrontal cortex is involved in decision making; the dorsal periaqueductal gray area processes painful and aversive events. Cody A. Siciliano, The Conversation, 21 Nov. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of aversive

1911, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for aversive

see averse

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Time Traveler for aversive

Time Traveler

The first known use of aversive was in 1911

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Dictionary Entries Near aversive

aversion therapy



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Cite this Entry

“Aversive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aversive. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for aversive


aver·​sive | \ ə-ˈvər-siv, -ziv \

Medical Definition of aversive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: tending to avoid or causing avoidance of a noxious or punishing stimulus behavior modification by aversive conditioning

Other Words from aversive

aversively adverb
aversiveness noun



Medical Definition of aversive (Entry 2 of 2)

: a noxious or punishing stimulus used to suppress an undesirable behavior or habit Aversives enter the picture because, although many "positive" (nonpunitive) methods for stopping self-injurious behaviors have been developed, they don't work in all cases.— Constance Holden, Science

More from Merriam-Webster on aversive

Nglish: Translation of aversive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aversive for Arabic Speakers


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