abrasive

1 of 2

adjective

abra·​sive ə-ˈbrā-siv How to pronounce abrasive (audio)
-ziv
1
: causing damage, wear, or removal of surface material by grinding or rubbing : tending to abrade
abrasive compounds for whitening teeth
an abrasive surface
2
: causing irritation
abrasive manners
an abrasive personality
abrasively adverb
abrasiveness noun

abrasive

2 of 2

noun

: a substance (such as emery or pumice) used for abrading, smoothing, or polishing
used an abrasive for polishing the rough stones

Did you know?

Abrasive Has Latin Roots

Once upon a time, English had abrade and abrase. While abrade remains a familiar word, abrase is rare but survives in abrasive. Both verbs come from abrādere, meaning "to remove by rubbing" or "to scrape off."

Examples of abrasive in a Sentence

Adjective The waves had an abrasive action on the rocks. an abrasive display of rude behavior
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Over all, the commercials felt abrasive, and written for people with fried attention spans. Tyler Foggatt, The New Yorker, 12 Feb. 2024 Some materials such as porous granite are more delicate and prone to scratches from abrasive cleaning agents. Kaitlyn McInnis, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 Jan. 2024 Moods range from oceanic ambient to dazzling, abrasive freak-outs. Evan Minsker, Pitchfork, 12 Jan. 2024 The idea of applying anything abrasive on your teeth might sound scary, but certain abrasives are actually beneficial for your teeth. Lacey Muinos, Health, 11 Dec. 2023 However, Yorke’s abrasive and atonal soundscapes best channel Donne’s rage against the machine. Jon O'Brien, SPIN, 26 Jan. 2024 Photo: Ian Faria The middle section of the show gives us a taste of Peter’s crowd work — frenetic, bizarre, seemingly abrasive but actually really generous, and very funny. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 11 Jan. 2024 Char should release easily with your abrasive tool of choice. The New York Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Dec. 2023 Unwound structured the set much like their albums, with some sections focused on quiet reflections and others on abrasive, emotional breakdowns designed to lure you into a place of introspection and then snap you out of it. Pitchfork, 20 Dec. 2023
Noun
Toothpastes also contain abrasives and detergents, says Dr. Kutlay. Barbara Bellesi Zito, Peoplemag, 13 Dec. 2023 In addition to being a gentle abrasive, baking soda has brightening properties and is a natural deodorizer, helping to eliminate odors from onions, garlic, and other food stains. Samantha Hunter, Better Homes & Gardens, 1 Dec. 2023 The idea of applying anything abrasive on your teeth might sound scary, but certain abrasives are actually beneficial for your teeth. Lacey Muinos, Health, 11 Dec. 2023 Using whitening toothpaste with abrasives may also cause teeth roughness and hardness issues in just one week of use.6 Brushing too hard or using a very hard bristle toothbrush can exacerbate potential enamel damage, too. Dr. Roshini Raj, Health, 3 Dec. 2023 This is an electric sharpener that uses diamond discs as the abrasive to hone knives. Laura Denby, Peoplemag, 10 Oct. 2023 The first two stages use the diamond abrasives to hone knife edges, and then the third stage smooths and refines the blade. Meg Carney, Field & Stream, 21 Sep. 2023 These cleaners contain ingredients that loosen spills of various types plus very fine abrasives (even though they are labeled as nonabrasive). Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2023 Test sample: Low-carbon steel joined to form a T. Surface and end roughened by grinding with 60-grit abrasive. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, 4 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'abrasive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Latin abrāsus, past participle of abrādere "to scrape off, abrade" + -ive

Noun

derivative of abrasive entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1850, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of abrasive was in 1601

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Dictionary Entries Near abrasive

Cite this Entry

“Abrasive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abrasive. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

abrasive

1 of 2 adjective
abra·​sive ə-ˈbrā-siv How to pronounce abrasive (audio)
-ziv
: having the effect of abrading
abrasively adverb
abrasiveness noun

abrasive

2 of 2 noun
: a substance (as sand) used for grinding, smoothing, or polishing

Medical Definition

abrasive

1 of 2 adjective
abra·​sive ə-ˈbrā-siv How to pronounce abrasive (audio) -ziv How to pronounce abrasive (audio)
: tending to abrade
an abrasive substance
abrasiveness noun

abrasive

2 of 2 noun
: a substance (as emery or pumice) used for abrading, smoothing, or polishing

called also abradant

More from Merriam-Webster on abrasive

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