asperse

verb as·perse \ ə-ˈspərs , a- \

Definition of asperse

aspersed; aspersing
transitive verb
1 : sprinkle; especially : to sprinkle with holy water
2 : to attack with evil reports or false or injurious charges

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Examples of asperse in a Sentence

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

asperse Has Latin Roots

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 is known to have first appeared in print in English in the latter half of the 1500s.

Origin and Etymology of asperse

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

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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