having the quality of corroding or eating away; erosive.
harmful or destructive; deleterious: the corrosive effect of poverty on their marriage.
sharply sarcastic; caustic: corrosive comments on the speaker's integrity.


something corrosive, as an acid or drug.

Origin of corrosive

1350–1400; late Middle English (< Middle French) < Medieval Latin corrōsīvus, equivalent to Latin corrōs(us) (see corrosion) + -īvus -ive; replacing Middle English corosif < Middle French < Latin as above
Related formscor·ro·sive·ly, adverbcor·ro·sive·ness, cor·ro·siv·i·ty [kawr-oh-siv-i-tee, kor-] /ˌkɔr oʊˈsɪv ɪ ti, ˌkɒr-/, nounnon·cor·ro·sive, adjectivenon·cor·ro·sive·ly, adverbnon·cor·ro·sive·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for corrosive

Contemporary Examples of corrosive

Historical Examples of corrosive

  • And send the story of the Steel-Blues' corrosive acid to it.

    Acid Bath

    Vaseleos Garson

  • Hers, if she ever had it, had been drenched in as ugly a lot of corrosive liquid as could be imagined.


    Joseph Conrad

  • The taste of it came on his lips, nauseating and corrosive like some kinds of poison.


    Joseph Conrad

  • But his humour is bitter as gall, and corrosive as sulphuric acid.

    Maxim Gorki

    Hans Ostwald

  • The chloride is very poisonous, and is known as corrosive sublimate.

British Dictionary definitions for corrosive



(esp of acids or alkalis) capable of destroying solid materials
tending to eat away or consume
cutting; sarcastica corrosive remark


a corrosive substance, such as a strong acid or alkali
Derived Formscorrosively, adverbcorrosiveness, 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 corrosive

late 14c., from Old French corrosif (13c.), from corroder (see corrode).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

corrosive in Medicine




Causing or tending to cause the gradual destruction of a substance by chemical action.


A substance having the capability or tendency to cause slow destruction.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.