9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ri-puhl-siv] /rɪˈpʌl sɪv/
causing repugnance or aversion:
a repulsive mask.
capable of causing repulsion; serving to repulse:
to present enough repulsive force to keep the enemy from daring to attack.
tending to drive away or keep at a distance; cold; forbidding:
arrogant, repulsive airs to frighten the timid.
Physics. of the nature of or characterized by physical repulsion.
Origin of repulsive
1590-1600; repulse + -ive
Related forms
repulsively, adverb
repulsiveness, noun
self-repulsive, adjective
unrepulsive, adjective
unrepulsively, adverb
unrepulsiveness, noun
Can be confused
repellent, repulsive.
1. loathsome, disgusting, offensive, distasteful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for repulsive
  • The scene at the depot was repulsive and nauseating, but no more revolting to witness than any surgical operation.
  • The cold grip of its repulsive gravity is strangling the formation of large cosmic structures.
  • Above the critical temperature, the net interaction between two electrons is repulsive.
  • Since he was repulsive and had buzzard breath, he needed all the help he could get.
  • Researchers suspect the phenomenon arises from quantum effects at work throughout spacetime, creating a sort of repulsive gravity.
  • He called it repulsive and almost looked as though he meant it.
  • They are repulsive, and must be stopped at all costs.
  • To some spirits the thought of this is hateful and the effort for it repulsive.
  • He makes the normal characters so morally repulsive.
  • Although the smell is repulsive to people, it attracts flies and other insects, which the carnivorous plant then feeds upon.
British Dictionary definitions for repulsive


causing or occasioning repugnance; loathsome; disgusting or distasteful: a repulsive sight
tending to repel, esp by coldness and discourtesy
(physics) concerned with, producing, or being a repulsion
Derived Forms
repulsively, adverb
repulsiveness, noun
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 repulsive

early 15c., "able to repel," from Middle French repulsif (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin repulsivus, from repuls-, past participle stem of repellere (see repel). The sense of "causing disgust" is first recorded 1816. Related: Repulsively; repulsiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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