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noun, plural as·per·i·ties.
  1. harshness or sharpness of tone, temper, or manner; severity; acrimony: The cause of her anger did not warrant such asperity.
  2. hardship; difficulty; rigor: the asperities of polar weather.
  3. roughness of surface; unevenness.
  4. something rough or harsh.
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Origin of asperity

1200–50; late Middle English asperite (< Anglo-French) < Latin asperitās, equivalent to asper rough + -itās -ity; replacing Middle English asprete < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin

Synonyms for asperity

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Antonyms for asperity

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for asperity

Contemporary Examples of asperity

Historical Examples of asperity

  • "I've not the slightest doubt of that," returned the old lady with asperity.


    William J. Locke

  • "Quite unnecessary, Smithson," Gilder returned, with asperity.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • "It wasn't very polite," said Mrs. Bartlett with some asperity.

  • "You will if you wait," advised Farrell, a tinge of asperity in his tone.


    W. A. Fraser

  • From this Claude went on to remark with asperity that Murillo painted like an ignoramus.

British Dictionary definitions for asperity


noun plural -ties
  1. roughness or sharpness of temper
  2. roughness or harshness of a surface, sound, taste, etc
  3. a condition hard to endure; affliction
  4. physics the elastically compressed region of contact between two surfaces caused by the normal force
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Word Origin for asperity

C16: from Latin asperitās, from asper rough
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

Word Origin and History for asperity


c.1200, asprete "hardship, harshness of feelings," a figurative use, from Old French asperité "difficulty, painful situation, harsh treatment" (12c., Modern French âpreté), from Latin asperitatem (nominative asperitas) "roughness," from asper "rough, harsh," of unknown origin; in Latin used also of sour wine, bad weather, and hard times. Figurative meaning "harshness of feeling" attested from early 15c.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper