Adjective "abortive" definition and examples



Definitions and examples


Failing to produce the intended result.
  1. 'The only solace we find is that the result of the abortive poll was nullified.'
  2. 'Last night's abortive attempts at a barbeque, despite lashings of the odd smelling spray, proved that the only way of avoiding midges is to stay indoors.'
  3. 'Parent-Teacher Chairman Mick Byrne made abortive attempts in his vintage Morris Minor and another in a tractor to confuse the children as to the actual mode of transport of Santa's arrival.'
  4. 'I refuse to talk about my abortive attempt at qualifying for the Hanley Cup lest I depress myself even more.'
  5. 'She hardly ran at all in the two weeks before her abortive attempt to help the Irish team in the World Cross-country Championships in Ostend, and until last Tuesday, she had not run a step since.'
  6. 'Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded the north of the island in the wake of an abortive coup attempt by Greek Cypriot nationalists, aimed at uniting the island with Greece.'
  7. 'Over the years, I have made abortive attempts at almost every classified form of writing.'
  8. 'After an abortive attempt to rejoin the fighting, he and Evelyn were reunited, got engaged and joined the Resistance, helping Canadian and American airmen shot down over Paris to arrange their escape routes.'
  9. 'My wife and I made abortive attempts at ordinary conversation.'
  10. 'Weighed down by high debts, the company made an abortive attempt at refinancing, and cancelled dividend payments in 2001.'
(of a virus infection) failing to produce symptoms.
  1. 'The infection rate is extremely high, but it is probable that 95% of all infections are either asymptomatic or characterised by an abortive flu-like illness.'
  2. 'abortive medusae'
  3. 'Eight inflorescences carried one or two abortive ovaries that turned yellow, instead of green, and dropped off when touched with a probe.'
  4. 'Not uncommonly, squamous differentiation and abortive gland formation is noted.'
Causing or resulting in abortion.
  1. 'The Reichstag, in its turn, passed a law that restricted the national distribution of abortive and contraceptive means and planned a new law regulating cinemas.'


1. failing to succeed; unsuccessful: an abortive rebellion; an abortive scheme.

2. born prematurely.

3. imperfectly developed; rudimentary.

4. Medicine/Medical. producing or intended to produce abortion; abortifacient. acting to halt progress of a disease.

5. Pathology. (of the course of a disease) short and mild without the usual, pronounced clinical symptoms.

6. Botany. (of seeds or pollen grains) imperfect; unable to germinate.

More examples(as adjective)

"uprisings can be abortive."

"attempts can be abortive."

"coups can be abortive."

"attacks can be abortive."

"talks can be abortive."

More examples++


Middle English (as a noun denoting a stillborn child or animal): via Old French from Latin abortivus, from aboriri ‘miscarry’ (see abort).