\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from rasp


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

Synonyms for rasp

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of rasp in a Sentence

Verb “Let go of my arm,” she rasped. The metal boxes rasped as they were dragged across the floor. Noun the rusted lock opened with a rasp
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb City did take their foot off the pedal a little, but Fernandinho still tested Pickford with a rasping drive in the 57th minute, which took a deflection off Calvert-Lewin. SI.com, "Everton 1-3 Man City: Visitors Sweep Toffees Aside As Premier League Title Edges Closer," 31 Mar. 2018 The plummeting temperatures give rise to high-altitude clouds suffused with the CFCs still swirling in Earth’s atmosphere, which then rasp away at the nearby ozone. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why This Rare, Huge Ozone Hole Over the Arctic Is Troubling Scientists," 1 Apr. 2020 With rasping percussion early on — four washboards! — dissonances rise through the winds. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Conductor Fabio Luisi gets new suavity, subtlety and plenty of drama from the Dallas Symphony," 10 Jan. 2020 While studying the ghost crabs, researchers noticed that when they were involved in agonistic interactions, the crustaceans made the aggressive rasping noises even with their claws outstretched. Amy Woodyatt And Allen Kim, CNN, "Ghost crabs 'growl' from their stomachs, scientists find," 12 Sep. 2019 Sometimes a bleaty quality crept in, sometimes a dry high note was rasped or snarled, sometimes an ornament emerged with the bite of a buzz saw. Anne Midgette, Washington Post, "Christian Gerhaher’s Mahler recital stabs listeners in the heart," 20 Oct. 2019 Ghost crabs owe their rasping stomach growls to a mechanism known as the gastric mill. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Ghost Crabs Use Teeth in Their Stomachs to Ward Off Predators," 12 Sep. 2019 The beach-dwelling crustacean can create loud rasping sounds, not only with its claws, but also with its guts, new research reveals. David Shultz, Science | AAAS, "Listen to a ghost crab frighten away enemies—with its stomach rumbles," 10 Sep. 2019 Handanovic was called upon again moments later to keep out Emanuele Giaccherini's rasping effort from the right hand side of the box, as Chievo sought the opening goal that perhaps their positive play had warranted. SI.com, "Chievo 1-2 Inter: Handanovic Stars As Nerazzurri Deny Spirited Chievo Much Needed Point," 22 Apr. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With her baby-woman rasp and hiccuping hooks, Rexha often sounds, to borrow the references of another era, like a Britney wrapped in the rebel-yell poses of an Avril or Pink. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "Better Mistakes review: Bebe Rexha plays the angst-pop field," 7 May 2021 Well, Chayce certainly has the rasp to pull off this Bryan Adams classic. Maggie Fremont, EW.com, "American Idol recap: Lionel Richie performs one of his own to kick off Oscar-nominated songs night," 19 Apr. 2021 The sound that came out of Earl Simmons’s mouth was often called a growl or rasp, but those terms seem insufficient upon the occasion of his death, today, at age 50. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Fierce Vulnerability of DMX," 9 Apr. 2021 East tones down his rasp here, favoring a smoother approach and a frequent falsetto. Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone, "Anderson East Previews Upcoming Album With Moody New Song ‘Madelyn’," 7 Apr. 2021 Lohan, in her new identity as an investor, and with her unmistakable rasp, was talking about N.F.T.s. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, "Clubhouse Feels Like a Party," 31 Mar. 2021 Christine has a cool rasp that sets her apart from other singers. Maggie Fremont, EW.com, "The Voice season premiere recap: A blast from Blake Shelton's past takes the stage," 2 Mar. 2021 Biden took his place and removed his mask and began to speak in a voice that was just above a whisper and with a bit of a rasp. Washington Post, "Harris’s self-evident truth," 22 Mar. 2021 He's got a nice rasp and almost sounds like Ray LaMontagne-does-rock-music. Maggie Fremont, EW.com, "The Voice recap: Blake Shelton keeps his promise, costing a 'rich and nuanced' contestant a four-chair turn," 10 Mar. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rasp

Time Traveler for rasp

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for rasp

Cite this Entry

“Rasp.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rasp. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on rasp

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!