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[kaw-stik] /ˈkɔ stɪk/
capable of burning, corroding, or destroying living tissue.
severely critical or sarcastic:
a caustic remark.
a caustic substance.
Origin of caustic
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin causticus < Greek kaustikós burning, caustic, equivalent to kaust(ós) burnt (verbal adjective of kaíein to burn) + -ikos -ic
Related forms
caustically, causticly, adverb
[kaw-stis-i-tee] /kɔˈstɪs ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
causticness, noun
noncaustic, adjective
noncaustically, adverb
overcaustic, adjective
overcaustically, adverb
overcausticity, noun
uncaustic, adjective
uncaustically, adverb
2. biting, mordant, bitter, scathing, acid. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for caustically
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And Mr. Evans had caustically rejoined: "It'll be the funny day when you'll see wings on him!"

    Mount Music E. Oe. Somerville and Martin Ross
  • "The latter at all costs, I presume," said Barbara, caustically.

    The Shadow of the Czar John R. Carling
  • "Darcy was always too smooth for our present taste," said Heffernan, caustically.

  • "We are not playing at tin politics nowadays," he caustically remarked.

    The Secret of the League Ernest Bramah
  • "He would not be troubled with superfluous votes, either," remarked the judge, caustically.

    A Man of Two Countries Alice Harriman
  • "That is very easy to say, uncle," replied Gonzalo caustically.

    The Fourth Estate, vol. 2 Armando Palacio Valds
  • "'The way is clear enough wi'oot that," from Tammas caustically.

    Bob, Son of Battle Alfred Ollivant
  • The voice said caustically: "Unfortunately, we've nothing to do anything with."

    Space Tug Murray Leinster
British Dictionary definitions for caustically


capable of burning or corroding by chemical action: caustic soda
sarcastic; cutting: a caustic reply
of, relating to, or denoting light that is reflected or refracted by a curved surface
Also called caustic surface. a surface that envelops the light rays reflected or refracted by a curved surface
Also called caustic curve. a curve formed by the intersection of a caustic surface with a plane
(chem) a caustic substance, esp an alkali
Derived Forms
caustical, adjective
caustically, adverb
causticity (kɔːˈstɪsɪtɪ), causticness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin causticus, from Greek kaustikos, from kaiein to burn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for caustically



c.1400, "burning, corrosive," from Latin causticus "burning, caustic," from Greek kaustikos "capable of burning; corrosive," from kaustos "combustible; burnt," verbal adjective from kaiein, the Greek word for "to burn" (transitive and intransitive) in all periods, of uncertain origin with no certain cognates outside Greek. Figurative sense of "sarcastic" is attested from 1771. As a noun, early 15c., from the adjective.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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caustically in Medicine

caustic caus·tic (kô'stĭk)

  1. A hydroxide of a light metal.

  2. A caustic material or substance.

  1. Capable of burning, corroding, dissolving, or eating away by chemical action.

  2. Of or relating to light emitted from a point source and reflected or refracted from a curved surface.

  3. Causing a burning or stinging sensation.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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