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[uh-spur-zhuh n, -shuh n] /əˈspɜr ʒən, -ʃən/
a damaging or derogatory remark or criticism; slander:
casting aspersions on a campaign rival.
the act of slandering; vilification; defamation; calumniation; derogation:
Such vehement aspersions cannot be ignored.
the act of sprinkling, as in baptism.
Archaic. a shower or spray.
Origin of aspersion
1545-55; (< Middle French) < Latin aspersiōn- (stem of aspersiō) a sprinkling. See asperse, -ion
Related forms
nonaspersion, noun
1. censure, reproach. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for aspersion
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She evidently regarded the statement as an aspersion upon myself.

    Novel Notes Jerome K. Jerome
  • But think not that I ever had any idea of casting an aspersion on you.

    Kosciuszko Monica Mary Gardner
  • Carrie felt this to contain, in some way, an aspersion upon her ability.

    Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
  • Mrs. Ercott smiled, and made no answer to an aspersion she had heard before.

    The Dark Flower John Galsworthy
  • But of this aspersion he was fully cleared, by the confession of the real father.

  • We must all combat with force such an aspersion on our Legislature.

  • "You call 'em hole-proof socks," said Skippy, ignoring the aspersion.

    Skippy Bedelle Owen Johnson
  • Now, that is an aspersion upon Lobengula and Samory in particular.

    Khartoum Campaign, 1898 Bennet Burleigh
British Dictionary definitions for aspersion


a disparaging or malicious remark; slanderous accusation (esp in the phrase cast aspersions (on))
the act of defaming
(rare) the act of sprinkling, esp of water in baptism
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for aspersion

mid-15c., from Latin aspersionem (nominative aspersio) "a sprinkling," noun of action from past participle stem of aspergere "to sprinkle on," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + spargere "sprinkle, strew" (see sparse). Originally in theology, the shedding of Christ's blood. Modern sense of "bespattering with slander" first attested 1590s. To cast aspersions was in Fielding (1749).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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