1

caustic

play
adjective caus·tic \ˈkȯs-tik\

Definition of caustic

  1. 1 :  capable of destroying or eating away by chemical action :  corrosive The chemical was so caustic that it ate through the pipe.

  2. 2 :  marked by incisive sarcasm a caustic film review caustic humor

  3. 3 :  relating to or being the surface or curve of a caustic (see 2caustic 2)

caustically

play \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

causticity

play \kȯ-ˈsti-sə-tē\ noun

caustic was our Word of the Day on 07/22/2008. Hear the podcast!

Examples of caustic in a Sentence

  1. His [Roosevelt's] caustic cousin, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, called him a sissy and a mama's boy. —Garry Wills, Atlantic, April 1994

  2. It was Schuyler's gift for satire and his caustic wit that distinguished his writings and led to his nickname, the Black Mencken. —Henry Louis Gates, Jr., New York Times Book Review, 20 Sept. 1992

  3. Albert quailed before those caustic pronouncements, he shuddered and blanched and felt his stomach drop like a croquette into a vat of hot grease. —T. Coraghessan Boyle, Harper's, October 1987

  4. The chemical was so caustic that it ate through the pipes.

  5. She wrote a caustic report about the decisions that led to the crisis.

Recent Examples of caustic from the Web

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

Did You Know?

If you have a burning desire to know the origins of "caustic," you're already well on the way to figuring it out. "Caustic" was borrowed into English in the 14th century from the Latin causticus, which itself derives from the Greek kaustikos. "Kaustikos," in turn, comes from the Greek verb kaiein, meaning "to burn." Other "kaiein" descendants in English include "cautery" and "cauterize," "hypocaust" (an ancient Roman heating system), "causalgia" (a burning pain caused by nerve damage), and "encaustic" (a kind of paint which is heated after it's applied).

Origin and Etymology of caustic

Latin causticus, from Greek kaustikos, from kaiein to burn

Synonym Discussion of caustic

caustic, mordant, acrid, scathing mean stingingly incisive. caustic suggests a biting wit. caustic comments mordant suggests a wit that is used with deadly effectiveness. mordant reviews of the play acrid implies bitterness and often malevolence. acrid invective scathing implies indignant attacks delivered with fierce severity. a scathing satire

Other Chemical Engineering Terms


2

caustic

play
noun caus·tic \ˈkȯs-tik\

Definition of caustic

  1. 1 :  a caustic agent: such asa :  a substance that burns or destroys organic tissue by chemical actionb :  a strong corrosive alkali (such as sodium hydroxide)

  2. 2 :  the envelope of rays emanating from a point and reflected or refracted by a curved surface

Recent Examples of caustic from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of caustic

see 1caustic

Other Chemical Engineering Terms


CAUSTIC Defined for English Language Learners

caustic

play
adjective

Definition of caustic for English Language Learners

  • : able to destroy or burn something by chemical action

  • : very harsh and critical


CAUSTIC Defined for Kids

caustic

play
adjective caus·tic \ˈkȯ-stik\

Definition of caustic for Students

  1. 1 :  capable of eating away by chemical action :  corrosive

  2. 2 :  very harsh and critical caustic remarks


Medical Dictionary

1

caustic

play
adjective caus·tic \ˈkȯ-stik\

Medical Definition of caustic

  1. :  capable of destroying or eating away organic tissue and especially animal tissue by chemical action silver nitrate and sulfuric acid are caustic agents

caustically

\-sti-k(ə-)lē\play adverb

causticity

\kȯ-ˈstis-ət-ē\play noun plural

causticities


2

caustic

noun caus·tic

Medical Definition of caustic

  1. :  a caustic agent: asa:  a substance that burns or destroys organic tissue by chemical action :  escharoticb:  a strong corrosive alkali (as sodium hydroxide)



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