9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[kaw-stik] /ˈkɔ stɪk/
capable of burning, corroding, or destroying living tissue.
severely critical or sarcastic:
a caustic remark.
a caustic substance.
Origin of caustic
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin causticus < Greek kaustikós burning, caustic, equivalent to kaust(ós) burnt (verbal adjective of kaíein to burn) + -ikos -ic
Related forms
caustically, causticly, adverb
[kaw-stis-i-tee] /kɔˈstɪs ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
causticness, noun
noncaustic, adjective
noncaustically, adverb
overcaustic, adjective
overcaustically, adverb
overcausticity, noun
uncaustic, adjective
uncaustically, adverb
2. biting, mordant, bitter, scathing, acid. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for caustic
  • Make sure you have room for it--cutting it back is dangerous because of its caustic sap.
  • Lye is a caustic substance traditionally used to make soap.
  • The fuel was then refined on the ship, he says, using a process in which caustic soda is blended into gasoline to remove sulfur.
  • Green cleaning solutions can keep your toilet as clean as caustic commercial products.
  • Searching for food, they had wandered into water that was too caustic for them.
  • The caustic vapors of oil, diesel, and asphalt burned their lungs.
  • His caustic and satirical humour expressed itself in a style that astounded government departments.
  • My style is a lot less caustic than that of many household names.
  • Having faced down the communist-era secret police, he is not scared of a lawsuit against his caustic blog.
  • What you have stated is a caustic and insulting lie.
British Dictionary definitions for caustic


capable of burning or corroding by chemical action: caustic soda
sarcastic; cutting: a caustic reply
of, relating to, or denoting light that is reflected or refracted by a curved surface
Also called caustic surface. a surface that envelops the light rays reflected or refracted by a curved surface
Also called caustic curve. a curve formed by the intersection of a caustic surface with a plane
(chem) a caustic substance, esp an alkali
Derived Forms
caustical, adjective
caustically, adverb
causticity (kɔːˈstɪsɪtɪ), causticness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin causticus, from Greek kaustikos, from kaiein to burn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for caustic

c.1400, "burning, corrosive," from Latin causticus "burning, caustic," from Greek kaustikos "capable of burning; corrosive," from kaustos "combustible; burnt," verbal adjective from kaiein, the Greek word for "to burn" (transitive and intransitive) in all periods, of uncertain origin with no certain cognates outside Greek. Figurative sense of "sarcastic" is attested from 1771. As a noun, early 15c., from the adjective.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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caustic in Medicine

caustic caus·tic (kô'stĭk)

  1. A hydroxide of a light metal.

  2. A caustic material or substance.

  1. Capable of burning, corroding, dissolving, or eating away by chemical action.

  2. Of or relating to light emitted from a point source and reflected or refracted from a curved surface.

  3. Causing a burning or stinging sensation.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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