Definition of abrasive in English:



  • 1(of a substance or material) capable of polishing or cleaning a hard surface by rubbing or grinding.

    ‘the wood should be rubbed down with fine abrasive paper’
    ‘don't use abrasive kitchen cleaners’
    • ‘With this procedure, the water creates an abrasive spray as effective, but not as damaging, as sandblasting.’
    • ‘Next, an abrasive water jet cuts the metal projectile body in two places to enable removal of the aluminum explosive casing.’
    • ‘Polishing, using a rotating brush and abrasive paste, removes stains from teeth.’
    • ‘Apply a poultice of abrasive powder and hot water.’
    • ‘Final polishing will only succeed on the hardest of stones, such as granite, porphyry, and gemstones, and again abrasive materials will be used for this, including abrasive powders or salts.’
    • ‘Do not expose your jewelry to chemicals or cleaning products, avoid contact with hair products, abrasive soaps, seawater and even tap water.’
    • ‘The high vanadium steel is somewhat brittle, but is excellent for cutting very abrasive materials.’
    • ‘Brass and aluminum are the least expensive, but the metal is soft and wears quickly when abrasive materials like wettable powders are used.’
    • ‘Additionally, chomping on naturally abrasive foods massages gums and cleans between teeth.’
    • ‘Nonetheless, it is prudent to make sure your boot pivot sockets are clean of grit, since heavy use combined with abrasive material could accelerate wear.’
    • ‘Remove shelves and sand them with medium and then fine abrasive paper to smooth surfaces roughened by water.’
    • ‘This will include using an abrasive material in the food troughs, which will wear down the sharp point of the beak as the hen feeds.’
    • ‘In the new method, the brand-name abrasive substance - Carborundum - is used to roughen the surface of the plate from which a mezzotint print is made.’
    • ‘Therefore, two flute end mills are superior in softer more flexible materials and four or more flute cutters are generally preferred in very hard or abrasive materials.’
    • ‘On the other hand, an amateur can accomplish the same end with only his hands, using nothing more than files, stones, abrasive papers, possibly a Dremel tool, and time.’
    • ‘Use a non abrasive cleaner to clean the surface followed by rubbing alcohol, which will remove any residue.’
    • ‘The process to make up a set of carbon arrows is much the same as for aluminium arrows except that the arrow shafts should only be cleaned with an abrasive cleaner, rinsed and let dry.’
    • ‘On top of that, the constant exposure to abrasive carbon dust is making a joke of maintenance budgets.’
    • ‘Grass is a very tough and abrasive material, and herbivores like horses evolved very high-crowned teeth to cope with the wear.’
    • ‘A ring of abrasive material such as eggshells, sand, wood shavings, diatomaceous earth, hair or ash can be placed around susceptible plants.’
    grinding, rubbing, polishing, coarse, coarse-grained, caustic, harsh, mordant
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    1. 1.1 Tending to rub or graze the skin.
      ‘the trees were abrasive to the touch’
      • ‘The young man's head was bandaged, disabling all of the most primal senses, save touch which now burned beneath the abrasive tethers on his wrists.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, any skin-care routine calls for a gentle cleanser - one that will not be abrasive to the skin.’
      • ‘The sand had subtle rosy hues and was very abrasive, sharp enough to cut if you kneeled on it.’
      • ‘It is abrasive to the skin and may provoke allergic reactions.’
      • ‘If the particles are not tiny enough, they will have an abrasive effect on the skin.’
      • ‘Oilier complexions have larger sebaceous glands, making the skin thicker and better able to tolerate a more abrasive scrub.’
      • ‘They grew close enough together so that reaching from one to the next was never a problem, and the bark was just rough enough to offer a good grip without being abrasive.’
      • ‘The label is always of an artificial fabric - harsh, almost abrasive, to the touch.’
      • ‘It was white, and pearly looking, but abrasive, as she found when she touched it.’
      caustic, corroding, eroding, erosive, biting, mordant, burning, stinging
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  • 2Showing little concern for the feelings of others; harsh.

    ‘her abrasive and arrogant personal style won her few friends’
    • ‘His personal style was often abrasive, and he came close to being sacked by Eisenhower.’
    • ‘As I said before, I have a fairly abrasive personality which didn't exactly make me the most popular person.’
    • ‘The woman known for her sharp intellect and her incisive, sometimes abrasive, interviewing style had severe verbal difficulties after the accident.’
    • ‘But, you wouldn't know by looking, because he's an abrasive, arrogant, off-kilter man trying to make his idiosyncratic way in academia.’
    • ‘She's pushy, arrogant, obnoxious, unbelievably abrasive, and not nearly as cute as she thinks she is.’
    • ‘Intelligence professionals described Mr. Murray as an abrasive person, difficult to work with, in their view.’
    • ‘Even so I seemed at every point of contact to be surrounded by abrasive people intent on disturbing my peace, my comfort, and my equable nature.’
    • ‘You may have been dealing with illness in the family, but something tells me you would have been this abrasive, arrogant and lacking in self-awareness anyway.’
    • ‘There are several scenes which involve abrasive personal confrontation, which I felt were irrelevant, but presumably were introduced for fear of the film becoming cloying.’
    • ‘The younger woman is constantly worn down by the older woman's negativity, Mag's abrasive personality pushing her to increasingly desperate little acts of rebellion.’
    • ‘Unfortunately they can often be abrasive and overbearing personality types.’
    • ‘He was a dispirited man, on the brink of destruction by the abrasive world of society and business.’
    • ‘He/she doesn't debate the facts or the issues… he/she is just sarcastic and abrasive with no real contribution to the conversation.’
    • ‘I am too subversive and eccentric for most of the people I work with to really like, and I am too sensitive to to take their abrasive personalities with gentle good humour.’
    • ‘I not proud of it but I can be as abusive, as abrasive and as hurtful as the next imperfect being on life's assembly line.’
    • ‘Especially in the 1840s, the Piedmontese left, for its part, distrusted and despised Cavour whom they viewed as an arrogant and abrasive aristocratic conservative.’
    • ‘Cashie was arrogant, abrupt and abrasive with the media at times.’
    • ‘He denies nothing of his abrasive personality.’
    • ‘They are impatient with people and can be abrasive.’
    • ‘These intimate letters introduce us to a man who's not only inordinately interesting, but also vain, funny, abrasive, sarcastic and courageous.’
    caustic, cutting, grating, biting, acerbic, vitriolic
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  • A substance used for grinding, polishing, or cleaning a hard surface.

    ‘the refrigerator is easily damaged by abrasives’
    • ‘This is done by sanding the surface of the ball down with varying grades of sandpaper and abrasives to get the ball back to like-new condition.’
    • ‘Jantz offers a full range of pre-shaped blades, knifemaking kits, rivets, guards, tools, abrasives, sheath-making materials and finishing products.’
    • ‘They are normally used as industrial abrasives, in diamond drilling equipment, or in glass cutting knives.’
    • ‘Today, they form large deposits of white chalky material, which is mined for use in cleansers, paints, filtering agents, and abrasives.’
    • ‘Both of these substances are mild abrasives and can be used as an alternative to chlorine scouring powders.’
    • ‘Flitz Metal Polish comes in a bottle or pre-moistened towelettes, contains no ammonia or abrasives and removes tarnish, rust, water stains, fingerprints and oxidation.’
    • ‘The main uses of garnets are for abrasives and grinding materials; they also provide semi-precious gemstones such as rhodolite, demantoid, and grossular.’
    • ‘To work this extremely hard stone, which can only be shaped by grinding with the help of abrasives, artisans were recruited from all over his vast empire.’
    • ‘The more brittle a finish after it cures, no matter how hard, the easier it will scratch and therefore the easier it will be able to rub using fine abrasives.’
    • ‘Additionally, most metal polishes contain solvents and detergents to remove the tarnish, mild abrasives to polish the metal, and oils to act as a barrier between the raw metal and air.’
    • ‘Egyptians used bath oils, white powders, and abrasives to clean their teeth.’
    • ‘This may be exploited by the sculptor for artistic effect, though others may prefer the smooth and highly finished surfaces obtainable with this medium through the use of abrasives and files after the plaster has set.’
    • ‘In the past, tooth-whitening products consisted of mild abrasives and detergents that were designed to scour the teeth and remove stains from the surface.’
    • ‘Never clean with abrasives, scouring powder or steel wool.’
    • ‘Never use abrasives on either anodized or painted surfaces as they will scratch it.’
    • ‘Man-made diamond abrasives have revolutionized the process of maintaining a ‘hair-popping’ sharp edge.’
    • ‘The abrasive particles may be incorporated into a variety of abrasive articles, including bonded abrasives, coated abrasives, nonwoven abrasives, and abrasive brushes.’
    • ‘These handy fossils are used today in cleansers, paints, filtering agents, abrasives… and even toothpastes!’
    • ‘Using abrasives, such as steel wool or abrasive powders tends to permanently scratch the smooth glassy surface, and make it harder to clean thereafter.’
    • ‘For example, abrasives can damage the protective surfaces of instruments, contribute to corrosion, and impede sterilization.’


Mid 19th century (as a noun): from Latin abras- ‘abraded’, from the verb abradere (see abrade), + -ive.