Definition of rasp in English:


Syllabification: rasp
Pronunciation: /rasp


  • 1 [in singular] A 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.
  • 2A coarse file or similar metal tool with a roughened surface for scraping, filing, or rubbing down objects of metal, wood, or other hard material.
    More 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.


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  • 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, squawk, caw, say hoarsely
  • 2 [with object] Scrape (something) with a rasp in order to make it smoother.
    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, rub, abrade, grate, grind, sand, file, scratch, scour; Medicine excoriate
  • 2.1(Of a rough surface or object) scrape (something, especially someone’s skin) in a painful or unpleasant way.
    More example sentences
    • Pale knuckles rasped against its worn surface, falling in gentle depressions in the wood made by countless other such actions.
  • 2.2 (rasp something away/off) Remove something by scraping it off.
    More example sentences
    • The dog-whelk's radula drills into other animals such as barnacles, while the limpet's is used to rasp algae off rock surfaces.
    • You probably rasp the soles off their shoes just for fun before they know what's happening.
    • Most chitons feed by rasping algae and other encrusted food off of the rocks on which they crawl.





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

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