aspersion

noun as·per·sion \ ə-ˈspər-zhən , -shən \
Updated on: 13 May 2018

Definition of aspersion

1 a : a false or misleading charge meant to harm someone's reputation
  • casting aspersions on her integrity
b : the act of making such a charge : defamation
2 : a sprinkling with water especially in religious ceremonies
  • the aspersion of the congregation before Mass

aspersion was our Word of the Day on 04/24/2011. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of aspersion from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aspersion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

aspersion Did Not Always Have Negative Connotations

No sweet aspersion shall the heavens let fall / To make this contract grow. In this line from Shakespeare's The Tempest, "aspersion" literally refers to a sprinkling of rain, but figuratively means "blessing." Shakespeare's use is true to the heritage of the term. "Aspersion" comes from the Latin word aspersus, itself a derivative of the verb "aspergere," which means "to sprinkle" or "to scatter." When "aspersion" first appeared in English in the 16th century, it referred to the type of sprinklings (for instance, of holy water) that occur in religious ceremonies. But English speakers noted that splatterings can soil and stain, and by the end of the century "aspersion" was also being used for reports that stain or tarnish a reputation.

Origin and Etymology of aspersion

Other Christian Religious Terms




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