Definition of rebarbative in English:



  • Unattractive and objectionable.

    ‘rebarbative modern buildings’
    • ‘As Thomas's pained gait and brittle limbs signal a physical deterioration, put-on sibling chitchat quickly turns to rebarbative bickering.’
    • ‘If this is correct, the US response should be to drive a wedge between the perpetrators and to their close supporters, rebarbative as they definitely will turn out to be.’
    • ‘In the 11 years since Romanian dictator Nicolai Ceausescu and his rebarbative wife Elena were toppled, the popular uprisings in Eastern Europe have developed their own distinctive choreography.’
    • ‘Over the past couple of hours a lot of rebarbative, ulcerated and embittered people had been working hard at bedding their resentments down in sensory-deprivation tanks full of alcohol.’
    • ‘It's just another bit of dreary left-wing ‘statement art’: morally rebarbative, aesthetically nugatory, interesting only as a symptom of cultural decay.’
    • ‘Has Stanley's ill-considered publication of this literary leviathan given license to a certain kind of rebarbative white animus toward any stirrings of black cultural ascendancy?’
    • ‘Quantification of aims and accomplishments may seem less rebarbative to scientists than to humanists.’
    • ‘It is quite as rebarbative and as jealous of its prerogatives as Parliament and nothing like so easy to summon.’
    • ‘Matthew Turner dug up some of his more rebarbative columns.’
    • ‘Our readings proved to be chock-a-block with militant palaver and rebarbative nonsense.’
    • ‘The more rebarbative influence of O'Casey is tempered by the gentler one of Synge.’
    • ‘It is too perversely rebarbative an opera to be, as I say, exactly enjoyable, but you begin to wonder if life, with its sado-masochistic tensions below the surface, isn't sometimes like this.’
    • ‘The person who brings this out in most women is that television presenter who had the mean little whiney, rebarbative jibes that suited her well.’
    • ‘We'd done the critical reading and so could sort through the often rebarbative yet always challenging works we favored.’
    • ‘It is not a chronicle of an aristocratic caste, but of the potpourri of birth, nurture, ambition and opportunism that has imposed upon Britain the most rebarbative governing élite outside France.’
    • ‘Wanting the approval and affection of her teacher, she is baffled by his alternately affectionate and rebarbative behaviour.’
    • ‘They were highly rebarbative in the way that they were carried out and the threats that were used.’
    • ‘If all this is a little rebarbative for your battered soul, and tender stomach, you could try some of the globe's more spiritual and/or magical remedies.’
    • ‘Some of the author's strategies for outwitting this rebarbative terrain are well practised and well documented.’
    • ‘Yet the text is neither dense nor rebarbative, and the author provides summaries of the argument as she proceeds from stage to stage.’
    revolting, disgusting, abhorrent, repellent, repugnant, offensive, objectionable, vile, foul, nasty, loathsome, sickening, nauseating, stomach-churning, stomach-turning, hateful, detestable, execrable, abominable, monstrous, appalling, reprehensible, deplorable, insufferable, intolerable, despicable, contemptible, beyond the pale, unspeakable, noxious, horrendous, heinous, atrocious, awful, terrible, dreadful, frightful, obnoxious, unsavoury, unpleasant, disagreeable, distasteful, dislikeable, off-putting, uninviting, displeasing
    View synonyms


Late 19th century: from French rébarbatif, -ive, from Old French se rebarber ‘face each other ‘beard to beard’ aggressively’, from barbe ‘beard’.