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Word of the Day
Monday, September 17, 2018

Definitions for aspersion

  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.

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Citations for aspersion
The full enormity of this remark then dawned on me; it was at once a lie and a cruel aspersion on my mother, who would certainly have got me some lighter clothes had I not discouraged her. L. P. Hartley, The Go-Between, 1953
A notorious New York magazine profile this fall, which cast aspersions on Kaur’s reading habits and penchant for gold rings, showed its cards in the first paragraph ... Carl Wilson, "Why Rupi Kaur and Her Peers Are the Most Popular Poets in the World," New York Times, December 15, 2017
Origin of aspersion
1545-1555
Aspersion comes from aspersion-, the stem of the Latin noun aspersiō “a sprinkling.” In classical Latin the noun is restricted to literal sprinkling. In the Vulgate (the Latin version of the Bible prepared by Saint Jerome at the end of the 4th century a.d.), aspersiō also refers to the sprinkling of blood (as for a sacrifice). Aspersiō in the sense “sprinkling with holy water” has always been practiced in the Roman Catholic Church, e.g., in baptisms. The metaphorical sense “sprinkling calumnies; slander” is a development within English. Aspersion entered English in the 16th century.