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aspersion

[uh-spur-zhuh n, -shuh n]
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noun
  1. a damaging or derogatory remark or criticism; slander: casting aspersions on a campaign rival.
  2. the act of slandering; vilification; defamation; calumniation; derogation: Such vehement aspersions cannot be ignored.
  3. the act of sprinkling, as in baptism.
  4. Archaic. a shower or spray.
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Origin of aspersion

1545–55; (< Middle French) < Latin aspersiōn- (stem of aspersiō) a sprinkling. See asperse, -ion
Related formsnon·as·per·sion, noun

Synonyms

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

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.


British Dictionary definitions for aspersion

aspersion

noun
  1. a disparaging or malicious remark; slanderous accusation (esp in the phrase cast aspersions (on))
  2. the act of defaming
  3. rare the act of sprinkling, esp of water in baptism
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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

n.

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper