Definition of scabrous in English:


Pronunciation /ˈskeɪbrəs//ˈskabrəs/


  • 1Rough and covered with, or as if with, scabs.

    ‘his face was scabrous and lumpy’
    • ‘Dropping the rag over the side of the bedpost, she turned and let the scabrous shard fall into a small bowl on the dresser; it greeted a similarly discordant family with a slight tink of angular metallic collision.’
    • ‘What had once been a set of four horrible, deep pits in her hand - two on her palm and two on the back - had turned into a scabrous mass of clotted blood.’
    • ‘The landing was home to a pair of scabrous aging brutes, a wolf dog (I suspect) and a forlorn Great Dane.’
    • ‘Given the sorry state of the pets for sale in the weekend markets and the indifference of the local population, farangs as well as Thais, to scabrous stray animals this dream was put on hold.’
    • ‘The troll's scabrous face fell, and he stopped abruptly.’
    • ‘Tears scald his scabrous cheeks, and he can hardly laugh - even the sardonic bark he reserves for all humanity - without torturing his jaw.’
    • ‘Mengele, she believes, chose her for this favoured project because, although sick and lousy, her flesh was remarkably unmarked - Mengele had an aversion to scarred or scabrous skin.’
    • ‘The gargoyles are functionless and the half-timbered effect of the East wing, which is a later addition and houses a billiard room, is entirely bogus, the timbers being painted on to a surface of scabrous cement.’
    • ‘As he ran up the flight of stairs, a superior smile twisted his scabrous face.’
    • ‘After an unnerving 45-minute ride on scabrous rural roads (one pothole too many and my rented '80s Honda 50 cc would have gone flying), I came across a tiny town.’
    • ‘After encounters with ‘a scabrous German shepherd’ and ‘two blood-eyed mastiffs’, he walks past two ‘copulating dogs’ on his way to talk to Maximo, another shark-man.’
    • ‘Most of the stripped down monologue consists of a topless Dee Dee baring his soul and his scabrous white chest, which starkly contrasts against the black backdrop.’
    • ‘His face was scabrous and lumpy, his flesh a sickly shade toward green.’
    • ‘An audible hissing pop accompanied the loosening of the last bolt, and at the sight of my leprous fore-arms and the great plates of scabrous horn which have overgrown my chest, the roust-abouts screamed like a pair of God-damned fat ladies.’
    dry, flaky, flaking, peeling, scurfy, rough, mangy, scabious
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Unpleasant; unattractive.
      ‘a scabrous hovel’
      • ‘I'll admit that there's a certain amount of gawp-in-horror entertainment to be had from seeing the scabrous insides of sundry slackers' houses - but the weekly ‘look at the BUGS that were in your carpet!’’
      • ‘Their daughter Sally was bright and personable but her liberal husband, Michael, represented all that Archie hated, and the scabrous arguments between the two formed the central conflict from which the comedy flowed.’
      • ‘Lurching and moaning like the undead, their final EP is scabrous and abhorrent listening.’
      unpleasant, disagreeable, nasty, distasteful, offensive, objectionable, unsavoury, unpalatable, dislikeable, off-putting, awful, terrible, dreadful, frightful, revolting, repulsive, repellent, repugnant, disgusting, odious, vile, foul, abhorrent, loathsome, nauseating, nauseous, sickening, hateful, detestable, execrable, abominable, insufferable, intolerable, unacceptable, despicable, contemptible, beyond the pale, poisonous, noxious, obscene, base, hideous
      View synonyms
  • 2Indecent; salacious.

    ‘scabrous details included being regularly seen with a mistress’
    • ‘When so much of TV and film is scabrous, parents rightly want to control what their youngsters see and, in response to this need, the world of Kid Vid has emerged.’
    • ‘He, by stark contrast, was scabrous and confessional, sexy, vernacular, and totally unpredictable.’
    • ‘Nobody wants to see 16 in a movie house anymore, unless it's something scabrous or has a lot of sex in it or something like that…’
    • ‘Anti-government cartoons in the 1790s often included the most scabrous, even treasonable, representations of King George III.’
    • ‘It's lurid, scabrous, scatological, banal and brilliant.’
    • ‘Usually described as a ballad opera - which makes it sound safe - it is a play with songs, the songs in question being popular pieces of the day, fitted with new lyrics that formed scabrous takes on the original words.’
    • ‘Not all the ‘women whom he chose to love’ shared this lady's antipathy, as we learn from the gallant, erotic, or downright scabrous poems they occasioned.’
    • ‘‘You have to acknowledge that the Scots tradition is very adept at the scabrous song,’ says the singer.’
    • ‘They are intentionally, indeed overinsistently, scabrous; and they are conscientiously repetitious in their linear, timeless design.’
    • ‘In the end, it proves disastrous - disastrous for complexity, analysis, richness, variegation - for the novel to conjure its vision of Texas from a scabrous adolescent narrator.’
    • ‘Now it's pig easy to go on the Internet and just grab the planet's most scabrous excesses - absolute debauchery - you lay it out there with the complete sterile access of a surgeon or a medical test.’
    • ‘Oh, one more thing, please ignore the snide remark some scabrous graffito vandal appended to the end of the article.’
    • ‘This time out I'm happy to report (only because I don't have to live with the guy) that he's as scabrous and brutal as all his little goat-children could've hoped.’
    pornographic, indecent, salacious, smutty, x-rated, lewd, rude, dirty, filthy, vulgar, foul, coarse, crude, gross, vile, nasty, disgusting, offensive, shameless, immoral, improper, immodest, impure, indecorous, indelicate, unwholesome, off colour, lubricious, risqué, ribald, bawdy, suggestive, titillating, racy, erotic, carnal, sensual, sexy, lascivious, lecherous, licentious, libidinous, goatish, degenerate, depraved, amoral, debauched, dissolute, prurient
    View synonyms


Late 16th century (first used to describe an author's style as ‘harsh, unmusical, unpolished’): from French scabreux or late Latin scabrosus, from Latin scaber ‘rough’.