[uh-spur-zhuhn, -shuhn]


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 formsnon·as·per·sion, noun

Synonyms for aspersion Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for aspersion

Contemporary Examples of aspersion

Historical Examples of aspersion

  • 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.


    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.

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

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