[uh-brey-siv, -ziv]
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  1. tending to abrade; causing abrasion; abrading.
  2. tending to annoy or cause ill will; overly aggressive: an abrasive personality.

Origin of abrasive

1870–75; < Latin abrās(us) (see abrasion) + -ive
Related formsa·bra·sive·ly, adverba·bra·sive·ness, nounun·a·bra·sive, adjectiveun·a·bra·sive·ly, adverb

Synonyms for abrasive

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for abrasive


  1. a substance or material such as sandpaper, pumice, or emery, used for cleaning, grinding, smoothing, or polishing
  1. causing abrasion; grating; rough
  2. irritating in manner or personality; causing tension or annoyance
Derived Formsabrasiveness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for abrasive

"an abrasive substance," 1853, from abrasive (adj.).


1805, from Latin abras-, past participle stem of abradere (see abrasion) + -ive. Figurative sense of "tending to provoke anger" is first recorded 1925. Related: Abrasively; abrasiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

abrasive in Medicine


  1. Causing abrasion.
  1. A material used to produce abrasion.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.