When you abrade something, you scrub it vigorously. To clean your dirty bathtub well, you’ll have to abrade it with a scrub brush and powdered bleach.

When you scour something so vigorously that you remove dirt, grime, or even the surface of the thing you’re scrubbing, you abrade it. You might need to abrade your fingers with a nail brush to get them clean after working on your oily car engine all afternoon. The word abrade is related to abrasion — a scrape on the skin — and both words come from the Latin root abradere, which means “to scrape off.”

Definitions of abrade
  1. verb

    rub hard or scrub

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    type of:


    move over something with pressure

  2. verb

    wear away

    abrase, corrade, rub down, rub off
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    chafe, excoriate

    tear or wear off the skin or make sore by abrading

    scrape with a rasp
    type of:

    wear away, wear off

    diminish, as by friction

Word Family