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[ uh-proh-bree-uhs ] [ əˈproʊ bri əs ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


outrageously disgraceful or shameful.

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More about opprobrious

Opprobrious “outrageously disgraceful or shameful” is an adaptation of Late Latin opprobriōsus, literally meaning “full of reproach,” based on opprobrium “reproach” and the adjectival suffix -ōsus “full of.” Opprobrium itself is a compound of the preposition ob “toward, against” and the noun probrum “infamy, disgrace,” with the b in ob assimilated to match the p in probrum. Confusion frequently arises about the similarity between probrum and the Latin adjective probus “good” (the source of approbation and approval), but the two are not quite related; probrum may literally mean “(thing) brought forward,” such as a complaint, while probus may have originally meant “being in front,” as in better than everything that follows. Opprobrious was first recorded in English in the late 14th century.

how is opprobrious used?

Perhaps he was taunting [Ida] Craddock, shaming her by scandalous association—just as he did later in taking her to jail aboard the elevated train, loudly calling attention to her with “opprobrious epithets” about the filth and blasphemy of her writings.

Leigh Eric Schmidt, ​​Heaven's Bride, 2010

In fact, he also insulted me and used opprobrious language…, and I am here to demand a personal apology from him in public. If that is not forthcoming at this meeting tonight, I am prepared to sue the city.

Ferrol Sams, Down Town, 2008
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[ pri-rog-uh-tiv, puh-rog- ]


a right, privilege, etc., limited to a specific person or to persons of a particular category.

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More about prerogative

Prerogative “a right limited to a specific person” derives via Middle English from Latin praerogātīvus “voting first,” a compound of the preposition prae “before” and the verb rogāre “to ask, propose.” Prae is the source of the prefix pre-, which appears in three other words in this paragraph, while rogāre gives rise to several question- and claim-related words, such as arrogant (originally meaning “presuming”), interrogate, and surrogate (originally meaning “to nominate as a substitute”). Prerogative was first recorded in English in the late 1300s.

how is prerogative used?

“The law of Treasure Trove, as we call it in this country, is in a most chaotic state …. The law, such as it is, seems to rest on Royal Prerogative; but what the base of that prerogative is, no one seems exactly to know.”

Bram Stoker, The Mystery of the Sea, 1902

It’s a president’s prerogative to replace the chair of the Federal Reserve Board, if desired, when that person’s four-year term runs out. But most presidents reappoint if the chair wants to stay on the job.

"Keep Jerome Powell as Fed chair", Star Tribune, November 9, 2021

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[ fawr-too-i-tuhs ] [ fɔrˈtu ɪ təs ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


happening or produced by chance; accidental.

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More about fortuitous

Fortuitous “happening or produced by chance” ultimately comes from the Latin noun fors (stem fort-) “chance, luck.” Though chance and luck are not quite one and the same, the overlap between the two is why fortuitous evolved a second, more common sense of “lucky, fortunate.” Also derived from fors is the noun fortūna, which is the source of English fortune. The Roman goddess Fortūna was the goddess of luck as well as fate, and the Romans celebrated a festival in her honor, Fors Fortūna, annually on June 24. Note that Latin fors is not related to the English words forte “a person’s strength” and fortify “to strengthen against attack,” which come instead from Latin fortis “strong, brave” (compare Spanish fuerte). Fortuitous was first recorded in English circa 1650.

how is fortuitous used?

“My meeting you was merely a fortuitous accident …. Well, you will find this difficult to believe, but we collided. We came around a corner in one of the clinic corridors, you going full speed in one direction and me in the other, and you ran into me. Actually, into my shins,” he said. “You were much shorter in those days.”

Mia Marko, The Delicate, Passionate World of Gregory Morgan and Vivien Prevette, Book 1: The Accident, 2018

My unhappiness did leave me in a vulnerable emotional condition and laid the groundwork for my fortuitous meeting with Janet Opal Jeppson. The first meeting took place in 1956, and I didn’t even know it. Janet has a younger brother, John, who had gone to Boston University Medical School and who had been in the last biochemistry class I had helped teach. He was a science fiction fan and he had converted his sister, Janet, to the true faith. He also told her about me and what a terrific lecturer and eccentric fellow I was. It roused her curiosity.

Isaac Asimov, I. Asimov: A Memoir, 1979
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