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Abrasive is an adjective meaning irritating or tending to cause irritation. It’s also a noun meaning something that has a surface suitable for grinding something to rough it up, smooth it out, or polish it up.

When used as an adjective, you could say that, for example, sandpaper and emery boards are abrasive. But it’s not just physical objects that can be abrasive. Personalities can also be abrasive, i.e., irritating.

What I’m not certain of is if, when referring to personalities, that irritating quality has to be intentional and active, or if it can be inadvertent and passive and still be be correctly called abrasive?

For example, if a lousy writer—I’m not mentioning any names, writes a lot of trivial, uninteresting, unentertaining and uninspiring text—completely unintentionally, I assure you; he was shooting for brilliant—and you, for whatever reason, read it, would you be correct in calling the writer’s personality abrasive because you found him, as reflected by his writing, to be irritating? If so, I apologize.

P.S.: I would appreciate any comments left by readers that clear up this question about whether this qualifies as an abrasive personality. I would also appreciate readers, but that’s pretty much a prerequisite for comments, isn’t it?

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