[rasp, rahsp]
See more synonyms for rasp on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to scrape or abrade with a rough instrument.
  2. to scrape or rub roughly: The glacier rasped the valley floor.
  3. to grate upon or irritate: The sound rasped his nerves.
  4. to utter with a grating sound: to rasp out an answer.
verb (used without object)
  1. to scrape or grate.
  2. to make a grating sound.
  1. an act of rasping.
  2. a rasping sound.
  3. a coarse file, used mainly on wood, having separate conical teeth.
  4. (in an insect) a roughened surface used in stridulation.

Origin of rasp

1200–50; Middle English raspen < Old French rasper to scrape, grate < Germanic; see rape3
Related formsrasp·ish, adjectiveun·rasped, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for rasp

Contemporary Examples of rasp

  • Using a rasp, zest the meyer lemon into the bowl and add the chopped herbs, anchovy, capers and a few grinds of black pepper.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How Top Chefs Stay Thin

    Rachel Syme

    December 15, 2009

Historical Examples of rasp

  • I'll bet money she done it just t' rasp his feelin's—and she sure succeeded.

  • But why rasp your nerves and spoil your digestion by so fuming over their politics?

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • Again she heard the rasp of his metallic voice with its brisk derision.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Instantly, with a rasp of thunder, it was gone, and the air was stifling.

  • We use the lightest shoe, truly fitted with the rasp, not burned on.

    Rational Horse-Shoeing

    John E. Russell

British Dictionary definitions for rasp


  1. a harsh grating noise
  2. a coarse file with rows of raised teeth
  1. (tr) to scrape or rub (something) roughly, esp with a rasp; abrade
  2. to utter with or make a harsh grating noise
  3. to irritate (one's nerves or senses); grate (upon)
Derived Formsrasper, nounraspish, adjective

Word Origin for rasp

C16: from Old French raspe, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German raspōn to scrape


  1. an informal or Scot word for raspberry
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 rasp

mid-13c., "to scrape," from Middle Dutch raspen and from Old French rasper (Modern French râper) "to grate, rasp," which is perhaps from a West Germanic source (cf. Old English gehrespan) akin to the root of raffle. Vocalic sense is from 1843. Related: Rasped; rasping.


"coarse file," 1540s, from Middle French raspe (Modern French râpe), from Old French rasper "to rasp" (see rasp (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper