failing to succeed; unsuccessful:
an abortive rebellion; an abortive scheme.
born prematurely.
imperfectly developed; rudimentary.

producing or intended to produce ; .
acting to halt progress of a disease.

Pathology. (of the course of a disease) short and mild without the usual, pronounced clinical symptoms.
Botany. (of seeds or pollen grains) imperfect; unable to germinate.
Contemporary Examples

Migraine drugs fall into two categories: preventive and abortive.
How to Destroy Your Headaches Dr. Anand Veeravagu, MD, Tej Azad June 22, 2014

He recalled previous failed Special Forces operations, including Desert One, the abortive hostage rescue attempt in Iran in 1980.
The Defense Secretary’s Exit Interview John Barry June 20, 2011

Ross later defined this as “the only new idea” that Arafat had presented at the abortive peace talks.
Temple Denial Benny Morris April 23, 2012

One time was an abortive interview about the U.S. wars in Indochina which ended with him stomping off.
Bloody Bloody Richard Nixon’s Role in a Forgotten Genocide Nick Turse September 27, 2013

Historical Examples

abortive attempts at colonization had been made in the sixteenth century.
The Buccaneers in the West Indies in the XVII Century Clarence Henry Haring

And yet it was ministered to, in a dull and abortive manner, by all who made this feint.
The Uncommercial Traveller Charles Dickens

The number of divisions at the apex indicates the number of united petals, some of which, however, may be 565 abortive.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 10, Slice 5 Various

Thus the efforts of Malique proved as abortive as the ravings of his master.
Gomez Arias Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso

Soon the leaders of the abortive procession spied him and entered into eager expostulation, but all to no purpose.
As the Crow Flies Walter Phelps Dodge

They are abortive births of an imperfect or vitiated instinct.
Essays, First Series Ralph Waldo Emerson

failing to achieve a purpose; fruitless
(of organisms) imperfectly developed; rudimentary
causing abortion; abortifacient

late 14c., “born prematurely or dead,” from Latin abortivus “pertaining to miscarriage; causing abortion,” from abort-, past participle stem of aboriri “disappear, miscarry,” from ab- “amiss” (see ab-) + oriri “appear, be born, arise” (see orchestra); the compound word used in Latin for deaths, miscarriages, sunsets, etc. The Latin verb for “to produce an abortion” was abigo, literally “to drive away.” Not originally used to imply forced or deliberate miscarriage; from 14c.-18c. stillborn children or domestic animals were said to be abortive. Also see abortion. Related: Abortiveness.

abortive a·bor·tive (ə-bôr’tĭv)

Not reaching completion, as of a disease subsiding before it has finished its course.

Partially or imperfectly developed; rudimentary.


a·bor’tive·ly adv.
a·bor’tive·ness n.


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