Simple Definition of asperity
: harshness of behavior or speech that expresses bitterness or anger
Examples of asperity in a sentence
<doesn't like the asperity of most experimental music>
<she responded with such asperity that we knew she was deeply offended by the question>
Did You Know?
Asperity has had a rough history. It came to Modern English through Middle English (where it was spelled "asprete") by way of the Anglo-French ("asprete"), and ultimately derives from the Latin word asper, which means "rough." Not only is "asper" the source of "asperity," but it also underlies the English word exasperate (in fact, you can see "asper" nestled in the midst of that word). Although it is far less common than "asperity" and "exasperate," the word asper itself is still occasionally used in English, too - it functions as a synonym of "harsh," "bitter," or "stern."
Origin and Etymology of asperity
Middle English asprete, from Anglo-French aspreté, from aspre rough, from Latin asper, from Old Latin *absperos, from ab- ab- + -speros; akin to Sanskrit apasphura repelling, Latin spernere to spurn — more at spurn
First Known Use: 13th century
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