adjective: repellent, irritating
The cantankerous professor foundthe music, clothing, and slangfavored by her students to be rebarbative.
“For all the complaints about his abrasiveness, the shadow chancelloris simply doing his job.… He oncegave me a heartfelt radio interview in which he suggested, like the character in the Roger Rabbit movie, that he was not so much bad but ‘justdrawn that way,’ and that maturityhad taken the edge off his rebarbative manner.” — AnneMcElvoy, The Guardian, February22, 2015
Did you know?
You may be surprised to learn thattoday‘s word traces back to the Latinword for beard—barba—making it a very distant relative of the Englishword beard. But there is some senseto the connection. After all, beardsmay not be repellent, but they can be prickly and scratchy. Anotherdescendant of Latin barba is the English word barb, which can refer to a sharp projection (as found on barbed wire) or a biting criticalremark, both of which can discourageothers from getting too close. An interesting side note: barber too traces back to barba—but by way of an Anglo-French word for beard.