Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Failing to accomplish an intended objective; fruitless.
  • adjective Biology Partially or imperfectly developed.
  • adjective Causing or meant to cause abortion; abortifacient.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Brought forth in an imperfect condition; imperfectly formed or inadequately developed, as an animal or vegetable production; rudimentary.
  • Suppressed; kept imperfect; remaining rudimentary, or not advancing to perfection in form or function: a frequent use of the term in zoölogy. Compare vestigial.
  • Hence Not brought to completion or to a successful issue; failing; miscarrying; coming to nought: as, an abortive scheme.
  • In botany, defective; barren. A. Gray.
  • Producing nothing; chaotic; ineffectual.
  • In medicine, producing or intended to produce abortion; abortifacient: as, abortive drugs.
  • Deformed; monstrous.
  • noun That which is produced prematurely; an abortion; a monstrous birth.
  • noun A drug causing abortion; an abortifacient.
  • To cause to fail or miscarry.
  • To fail; perish; come to nought.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective rare Produced by abortion; born prematurely.
  • adjective obsolete Made from the skin of a still-born animal.
  • adjective obsolete Rendering fruitless or ineffectual.
  • adjective Coming to naught; failing in its effect; miscarrying; fruitless; unsuccessful.
  • adjective (Biol.) Imperfectly formed or developed; rudimentary; sterile
  • adjective Causing abortion.
  • adjective Cutting short.
  • noun obsolete That which is born or brought forth prematurely; an abortion.
  • noun obsolete A fruitless effort or issue.
  • noun A medicine to which is attributed the property of causing abortion; -- also called an abortifacient.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective medicine, rare, attributive Causing abortion; abortifacient
  • adjective medicine Cutting short; acting to halt or slow the progress (of a disease).
  • noun obsolete A medicine to which is attributed the property of causing abortion, abortifacient.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective failing to accomplish an intended result

Etymologies

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