[ uh-spur-zhuhn, -shuhn ]
/ 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.

Nearby words

  1. aspergillus,
  2. asperity,
  3. aspermatism,
  4. aspermia,
  5. asperse,
  6. aspersions,
  7. aspersorium,
  8. asphalt,
  9. asphalt jungle,
  10. asphalt paper

Origin of aspersion

1545–55; (< Middle French) < Latin aspersiōn- (stem of aspersiō) a sprinkling. See asperse, -ion

Related formsnon·as·per·sion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for aspersion

British Dictionary definitions for aspersion


/ (əˈspɜːʃən) /


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