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[rasp, rahsp] /ræsp, rɑsp/
verb (used with object)
to scrape or abrade with a rough instrument.
to scrape or rub roughly:
The glacier rasped the valley floor.
to grate upon or irritate:
The sound rasped his nerves.
to utter with a grating sound:
to rasp out an answer.
verb (used without object)
to scrape or grate.
to make a grating sound.
an act of rasping.
a rasping sound.
a coarse file, used mainly on wood, having separate conical teeth.
(in an insect) a roughened surface used in stridulation.
Origin of rasp
1200-50; Middle English raspen < Old French rasper to scrape, grate < Germanic; see rape3
Related forms
raspish, adjective
unrasped, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for rasp
Contemporary Examples
  • Using a rasp, zest the meyer lemon into the bowl and add the chopped herbs, anchovy, capers and a few grinds of black pepper.

Historical Examples
  • Neither combatant said a word, the rasp of their calloused feet on the sand the only sound.

    Planet of the Damned Harry Harrison
  • The rasp of the hand-saw informed him that he had been obeyed.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • Then the commander heard the rasp of a wire trawl sweeping over his hull.

    Sea Warfare Rudyard Kipling
  • Chance for me to rasp him, hey, by wishing you onto the family?

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • In the letter just quoted, Rale seems to have done his best to rasp the temper of his New England correspondent.

  • I'll bet money she done it just t' rasp his feelin's—and she sure succeeded.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
  • Hold the work in such a way that the stroke of the rasp can be seen without moving the pipe.

    Elements of Plumbing Samuel Dibble
  • Instantly, with a rasp of thunder, it was gone, and the air was stifling.

    The Affair of the Brains Anthony Gilmore
  • Rough and hard as a rasp was Jomfru van Loos, and had been all her days till now.

    Mothwise Knut Hamsun
British Dictionary definitions for rasp


a harsh grating noise
a coarse file with rows of raised teeth
(transitive) to scrape or rub (something) roughly, esp with a rasp; abrade
to utter with or make a harsh grating noise
to irritate (one's nerves or senses); grate (upon)
Derived Forms
rasper, noun
raspish, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Old French raspe, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German raspōn to scrape


an informal or Scot word for raspberry
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 rasp

mid-13c., "to scrape," from Middle Dutch raspen and from Old French rasper (Modern French râper) "to grate, rasp," which is perhaps from a West Germanic source (cf. Old English gehrespan) akin to the root of raffle. Vocalic sense is from 1843. Related: Rasped; rasping.


"coarse file," 1540s, from Middle French raspe (Modern French râpe), from Old French rasper "to rasp" (see rasp (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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rasp in Technology

["RASP - A Language with Operations on Fuzzy Sets", D.D. Djakovic, Comp Langs 13(3):143-148 (1988)].

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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