- failing to succeed; unsuccessful: an abortive rebellion; an abortive scheme.
- born prematurely.
- imperfectly developed; rudimentary.
- Pathology. (of the course of a disease) short and mild without the usual, pronounced clinical symptoms.
- Botany. (of seeds or pollen grains) imperfect; unable to germinate.
Origin of abortive
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for abortive
Migraine drugs fall into two categories: preventive and abortive.How to Destroy Your Headaches
Dr. Anand Veeravagu, MD, Tej Azad
June 23, 2014
One time was an abortive interview about the U.S. wars in Indochina which ended with him stomping off.Bloody Bloody Richard Nixon’s Role in a Forgotten Genocide
September 28, 2013
Ross later defined this as "the only new idea" that Arafat had presented at the abortive peace talks.Temple Denial
April 24, 2012
He recalled previous failed Special Forces operations, including Desert One, the abortive hostage rescue attempt in Iran in 1980.The Defense Secretary's Exit Interview
June 21, 2011
And yet it was ministered to, in a dull and abortive manner, by all who made this feint.The Uncommercial Traveller
Thus the efforts of Malique proved as abortive as the ravings of his master.Gomez Arias
Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso
They are abortive births of an imperfect or vitiated instinct.Essays, First Series
Ralph Waldo Emerson
And as passive resistance was their attitude, his purging scheme was abortive.England and Germany
Emile Joseph Dillon
There had been in the early part of the day an abortive effort at a procession.Jack Hinton
Charles James Lever
- failing to achieve a purpose; fruitless
- (of organisms) imperfectly developed; rudimentary
- causing abortion; abortifacient
Word Origin and History for abortive
late 14c., "born prematurely or dead," from Latin abortivus "pertaining to miscarriage; causing abortion," from abort-, past participle stem of aboriri "disappear, miscarry," from ab- "amiss" (see ab-) + oriri "appear, be born, arise" (see orchestra); the compound word used in Latin for deaths, miscarriages, sunsets, etc. The Latin verb for "to produce an abortion" was abigo, literally "to drive away." Not originally used to imply forced or deliberate miscarriage; from 14c.-18c. stillborn children or domestic animals were said to be abortive. Also see abortion. Related: Abortiveness.
- Not reaching completion, as of a disease subsiding before it has finished its course.
- Partially or imperfectly developed; rudimentary.