re·​bar·​ba·​tive | \ ri-ˈbär-bə-tiv How to pronounce rebarbative (audio) \

Definition of rebarbative

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Other Words from rebarbative

rebarbatively adverb

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You may be surprised to learn that rebarbative traces back to the Latin word for "beard" - barba - making it a very distant relative of the English word beard. But there is some sense to the connection. After all, beards may not be repellent, but they can be prickly and scratchy! Another descendant of Latin barba is the English word barb, which can refer to a sharp projection (as found on barbed wire) or a biting critical remark, both of which can discourage others from getting too close.

Examples of rebarbative in a Sentence

there are aspects of that writer's personality that any reasonable person would regard as rebarbative, but we're just reading his novels—not marrying him
Recent Examples on the Web But Krugman can also sound like a cross between a bloodthirsty Robespierre and a rebarbative GIF. Sebastian Mallaby, The Atlantic, "Cool It, Krugman," 5 Feb. 2020

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

First Known Use of rebarbative

1892, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rebarbative

French rébarbatif, from Middle French, from rebarber to be repellent, from re- + barbe beard, from Latin barba — more at beard

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The first known use of rebarbative was in 1892

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Cite this Entry

“Rebarbative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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