Definition of rasp in English:

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Pronunciation: /rɑːsp/


1A harsh, grating noise: the rasp of the engine
More example sentences
  • I whispered, my voice coming out as a harsh rasp.
  • The second voice was harsh, almost a rasp like someone with a sore throat.
  • She waits for another useless barrage of platitudes and axioms, but all she catches is the harsh rasp of his breathing.
grinding, grating, scraping, scrape, scratching, scratch
2A coarse file or similar metal tool for scraping, filing, or rubbing down objects of metal, wood, or other hard material.
Example sentences
  • The tools used for more refined work include gouges, drills, various types of chisel, a mallet, rasps, files, and rifflers, some of which duplicate the tools used in stonecarving and modelling.
  • I spent a lot of time in the Cooper stock shop and watched awestruck as a talented stockmaker with nothing but a pencil outlined a classic's cheekpiece and then made it happen with a couple of wood rasps.
  • You can add a paint mixer, right-angle drive, wire brushes, wood countersinks, and even saws, lathes, and rotary rasps and files.


1 [no object] Make a harsh, grating noise: my breath rasped in my throat
More example sentences
  • Sara ran as fast as she could, her breath rasping in her throat and blood pounding in her ears.
  • The breath rasped in her throat as she began the game of cat and mouse, charred robe held up past her knees so she could run.
  • Breath rasped in his throat and drops of red flew from his side as he loped past the pews.
1.1 [with direct speech] Say in a harsh, grating voice: ‘Stay where you are!’ he rasped
More example sentences
  • ‘Come Defender and fight,’ it rasped in grating voice.
  • ‘I can't stop loving you,’ he rasped in that wonderful voice, ‘I've made up my mind.’
  • When I picked it up, a smoky voice rasped at me, ‘Goddamnit, Crumley, where the hell are you?’
croak, say/utter hoarsely, squawk, shrill, caw
2 [with object] Scrape or file (something) with a rasp: the horse has to be sedated for its teeth to be rasped
More example sentences
  • Initially, wood is rasped evenly from the length of each limb on the bow.
  • The thrips will rasp the foliage, leaving whitish streaks.
  • Any flares present at this time are removed by rasping the lower part of the hoof wall from the outside.
scrape, file, rub, abrade, grate, sand, sandpaper, scratch, scour
technical excoriate
2.1(Of a rough surface or object) scrape in a painful or unpleasant way: the bark was deeply grooved, rasping her fingers
More example sentences
  • Pale knuckles rasped against its worn surface, falling in gentle depressions in the wood made by countless other such actions.


Middle English (as a verb): from Old French rasper, perhaps of Germanic origin.

Words that rhyme with rasp

clasp, gasp, grasp, hasp

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: rasp

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