Definition of asperity
1 : roughness of manner or of temper : harshness of behavior or speech that expresses bitterness or anger He asked with some asperity just what they were implying.
3a : roughness of surface : unevenness; also : a tiny projection from a surface the asperities of the tongueb : roughness of sound
asperity was our Word of the Day on 06/17/2010. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
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
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up asperity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).