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verb, as·perse \ə-ˈspərs, a-\

Definition of asperse


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  sprinkle; especially :  to sprinkle with holy water

  3. 2 :  to attack with evil reports or false or injurious charges

Examples of asperse in a sentence

  1. <how dare you asperse the character of our dedicated pastor!>

Did You Know?

You may be more familiar with the idea of "casting aspersions" than with "aspersing," although they mean essentially the same thing; the word aspersion can mean "a sprinkling with water" or, more commonly, "a false or misleading charge meant to harm someone's reputation." Both "asperse" and "aspersion" are descendants of the Latin verb aspergere, meaning "to sprinkle." "Asperse" is the older word, dating to at least 1490; "aspersion" first appeared in print in English in the 1500s.

Origin of asperse

Latin aspersus, past participle of aspergere, from ad- + spargere to scatter — more at spark

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of asperse

malign, traduce, asperse, vilify, calumniate, defame, slander mean to injure by speaking ill of. malign suggests specific and often subtle misrepresentation but may not always imply deliberate lying <the most maligned monarch in British history>. traduce stresses the resulting ignominy and distress to the victim <so traduced the governor that he was driven from office>. asperse implies continued attack on a reputation often by indirect or insinuated detraction <both candidates aspersed the other's motives>. vilify implies attempting to destroy a reputation by open and direct abuse <no criminal was more vilified in the press>. calumniate imputes malice to the speaker and falsity to the assertions <falsely calumniated as a traitor>. defame stresses the actual loss of or injury to one's good name <sued them for defaming her reputation>. slander stresses the suffering of the victim <town gossips slandered their good name>.

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