\ ˈrasp How to pronounce rasp (audio) \
rasped; rasping; rasps

Definition of rasp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to rub with something rough specifically : to abrade with a rasp
2 : to grate upon : irritate
3 : to utter in a raspy tone

intransitive verb

1 : scrape
2 : to produce a grating sound



Definition of rasp (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a coarse file with cutting points instead of lines
2 : something used for rasping
3a : an act of rasping
b : a rasping sound, sensation, or effect

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Other Words from rasp


rasper noun
raspingly \ ˈra-​spiŋ-​lē How to pronounce raspingly (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for rasp

Synonyms: Verb

buff, file, grind, hone, rub, sand

Synonyms: Noun

creak, grind, jar, scrape, scratch

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Examples of rasp in a Sentence


“Let go of my arm,” she rasped. The metal boxes rasped as they were dragged across the floor.


the rusted lock opened with a rasp
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Dutch waited for the match to start before getting their revenge, unleashing a barrage of fouls against the Argentineans before twice almost scoring; Rep narrowly heading the ball wide and then having a rasping shot saved well by Fillol. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 4 Days to Go - What if Johan Cruyff Had Made the Trip to Argentina?," 10 June 2018 And for those with extra-gnarly calluses, this Tweezerman rasp that writer Kase Wickman uses to shave off the thick husks of skin around the balls of her feet is also on sale. The Editors, The Strategist, "There Are a Bunch of Tweezerman Products on Sale at Ulta Right Now," 26 June 2018 Tiémoué Bakayoko cleared the ball out of the Chelsea area straight to Jonjo Shelvey, whose rasping effort from the edge of the area was diverted past a helpless Courtois by Pérez. SI.com, "Newcastle Soars to Win as Blundering Chelsea Misses Out on Champions League," 13 May 2018 Her dynamism as a box-to-box player — including a rasping long-range shot — has been missed. Jonathan Tannenwald, Philly.com, "Tobin Heath, Christen Press, Julie Ertz return to U.S. women's national team roster for China games," 29 May 2018 The creatures attach to fish with a suction cup mouth, rasp a hole though the fish’s scales and skin, and feed on blood and body fluids. Detroit Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, "Scientists on the hunt for blood-sucking sea lampreys in metro Detroit," 22 May 2018 The 23-year-old nearly doubled his side's advantage a minute before the break with a rasping shot from 25 yards which just drifted wide of Oblak's right-hand post. SI.com, "Real Sociedad 3-0 Atletico Madrid: Excellent Adnan Januzaj Inspires Impressive Hosts to Deserved Win," 19 Apr. 2018 Before the half time interval the Spaniard denied rasping efforts from Marcelo and Ronaldo, but a heroic save late in the second-half to deny Ronaldo's close-range effort was arguably his best. SI.com, "Villarreal vs Real Madrid Preview: Previous Encounter, Key Battle, Team News & More," 18 May 2018 Substitute Nathan Dyer rasped a drive just over the bar as the hosts upped the ante again, and their pressure told as Jordan Ayew fired home with 20 minutes to go. SI.com, "Swansea 1-1 Everton: Swans Boost Survival Hopes in Pulsating Draw Against Toffees," 14 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The only sound the dog could be said to produce was the low rasp of the chain against cement. Han Kang, Harper's magazine, "White Out," 10 Feb. 2019 Japanese keyhole saws, gouges, a cheese-grater-like rasp called a microplane and, for the final steps, lots and lots of sandpaper. Bob Shallit, sacbee, "How an ‘accidental artist’ became the zen master of wood," 16 June 2018 What’s left of his blond hair is set off by a bandanna, and his voice is laid-back but definite, with an ingratiating hint of a rasp. New York Times, "Review: ‘Filmworker’ Reveals Stanley Kubrick’s Perfectionism," 10 May 2018 There’s an appealing rasp to Bo Hansen’s singing, a kind of wearied soulfulness that fights with the surrounding din, which is driven by the kaleidoscopic organ filigree of Mary McKane. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "A pair of new acts on Chicago’s Trouble in Mind imprint update scrappy 90s indie rock with shaggy pop melodies," 29 June 2018 The bits where her voice starts cracking and the rasp comes out? Megan Buerger, Billboard, "Zedd & Maren Morris on Why 'The Stakes Were So High' for 'The Middle'," 17 May 2018 Laferte, who was born in Chile and raised in Mexico City, has a sweet rasp in her voice that belies its power. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "Juanes and Mon Laferte enchant Smart Financial Centre crowd," 5 May 2018 Arcidiacono spoke Friday with the pre-noon, road-weary rasp of pro athletes everywhere: jet-lagged, dehydrated and homesick. Marcus Hayes, Philly.com, "Jalen Brunson and Ryan Arcidiacono share Villanova DNA | Marcus Hayes," 30 Mar. 2018 Stewart, who died Sunday night at age 75 (according to driver’s license records, he was born Oct. 18, 1942), was already a witty raconteur, and that rasp added an extra touch to his oral storytelling. Robert Philpot, star-telegram, "Perry Stewart, longtime Star-Telegram theater critic, dies at 75 | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 8 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rasp.' 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 rasp


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


circa 1512, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rasp


Middle English, from Anglo-French *rasper, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German raspōn to scrape together

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Time Traveler for rasp

The first known use of rasp was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for rasp



English Language Learners Definition of rasp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to speak in a way that sounds rough or harsh
: to make a rough, harsh sound
: to rub (something) with a rough object or substance



English Language Learners Definition of rasp (Entry 2 of 2)

: a metal tool that has sharp points and that is used to make rough surfaces smooth
: a rough, harsh sound


\ ˈrasp How to pronounce rasp (audio) \
rasped; rasping

Kids Definition of rasp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to say with or make a harsh sound “Who was it?” I rasped, holding my breath.— Mildred D. Taylor, Roll of Thunder
2 : to rub with or as if with a rough object or substance I rasped off the rough edges.



Kids Definition of rasp (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a harsh sound or sensation
2 : a coarse file used for shaping or smoothing

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More from Merriam-Webster on rasp

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rasp

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rasp

Spanish Central: Translation of rasp

Nglish: Translation of rasp for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rasp

Comments on rasp

What made you want to look up rasp? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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