• synonyms


[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.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to scrape or grate.
  2. to make a grating sound.
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  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.
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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

Related Words

pound, irk, scrape, rub, scratch, bray, excoriate, jar, vex, irritate, abrade, file, grate, raze, scour, wear, sand

Examples from the Web for rasp

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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
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  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)
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Derived Formsrasper, nounraspish, adjective

Word Origin

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


  1. an informal or Scot word for raspberry
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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.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper