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[skab-ruh s] /ˈskæb rəs/
having a rough surface because of minute points or projections.
indecent or scandalous; risqué; obscene:
scabrous books.
full of difficulties.
Origin of scabrous
1575-85; < Latin scab(e)r rough + -ous
Related forms
scabrously, adverb
scabrousness, noun
unscabrous, adjective
unscabrously, adverb
unscabrousness, noun
2. lewd, wanton, improper. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for scabrous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A very honest woman, amused at this scabrous conversation, but inexperienced.

    Very Woman Remy de Gourmont
  • Carol glanced from the scabrous object to Vida, and realized that she was not joking.

    Main Street Sinclair Lewis
  • The whole relation had been ruined by entering this scabrous building.

    Sinister Street, vol. 2 Compton Mackenzie
  • Blades long, dark green, succulent and scabrous: ridges numerous and flat above, but distinct (Fig. 9).

    Grasses H. Marshall Ward
  • Then we incontinently proceed to stone him to death with scabrous adjectives!

    Iconoclasts James Huneker
  • Behind him, standing atop the dented and scabrous garbage cans, Dumont.

  • The spores are rounded, and rough (scabrous) on the surface.

  • Lucretius is scabrous and rough in these; he seeks them: as some do Chaucerisms with us, which were better expunged and banished.

  • The green vanished like a mist, and scabrous desert cacti crept in on prickly feet.

    Dust of the Desert Robert Welles Ritchie
British Dictionary definitions for scabrous


roughened because of small projections; scaly
indelicate, indecent, or salacious: scabrous humour
difficult to deal with; knotty
Derived Forms
scabrously, adverb
scabrousness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin scaber rough; related to scabies
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 scabrous

1570s, "harsh, unmusical" (implied in scabrously), from Late Latin scabrosus "rough," from Latin scaber "rough, scaly," related to scabere "to scratch, scrape" (see scabies). Sense in English evolved to "vulgar" (1881), "squalid" (1939), and "nasty, repulsive" (c.1951). Classical literal sense of "rough, rugged" attested in English from 1650s. Related: Scabrously; scabrousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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