Definition of rebarbative in US English:



  • Unattractive and objectionable.

    ‘rebarbative modern buildings’
    • ‘Some of the author's strategies for outwitting this rebarbative terrain are well practised and well documented.’
    • ‘As Thomas's pained gait and brittle limbs signal a physical deterioration, put-on sibling chitchat quickly turns to rebarbative bickering.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Wanting the approval and affection of her teacher, she is baffled by his alternately affectionate and rebarbative behaviour.’
    • ‘Matthew Turner dug up some of his more rebarbative columns.’
    • ‘They were highly rebarbative in the way that they were carried out and the threats that were used.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is quite as rebarbative and as jealous of its prerogatives as Parliament and nothing like so easy to summon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘We'd done the critical reading and so could sort through the often rebarbative yet always challenging works we favored.’
    • ‘Our readings proved to be chock-a-block with militant palaver and rebarbative nonsense.’
    • ‘Yet the text is neither dense nor rebarbative, and the author provides summaries of the argument as she proceeds from stage to stage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's just another bit of dreary left-wing ‘statement art’: morally rebarbative, aesthetically nugatory, interesting only as a symptom of cultural decay.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Quantification of aims and accomplishments may seem less rebarbative to scientists than to humanists.’
    • ‘The more rebarbative influence of O'Casey is tempered by the gentler one of Synge.’
    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
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Late 19th century: from French rébarbatif, -ive, from Old French se rebarber ‘face each other ‘beard to beard’ aggressively’, from barbe ‘beard’.