ef·​fron·​tery | \ i-ˈfrən-tə-rē How to pronounce effrontery (audio) , e- \
plural effronteries

Definition of effrontery

: shameless boldness : insolence

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Choose the Right Synonym for effrontery

temerity, audacity, hardihood, effrontery, nerve, cheek, gall, chutzpah mean conspicuous or flagrant boldness. temerity suggests boldness arising from rashness and contempt of danger. had the temerity to refuse audacity implies a disregard of restraints commonly imposed by convention or prudence. an entrepreneur with audacity and vision hardihood suggests firmness in daring and defiance. admired for her hardihood effrontery implies shameless, insolent disregard of propriety or courtesy. outraged at his effrontery nerve, cheek, gall, and chutzpah are informal equivalents for effrontery. the nerve of that guy has the cheek to call herself a singer had the gall to demand proof the chutzpah needed for a career in show business

Did You Know?

To the Romans, the shameless were "without forehead," at least figuratively. Effrontery derives from Latin effrons, a word that combines the prefix ex- (meaning "out" or "without") and "frons" (meaning "forehead" or "brow"). The Romans never used "effrons" literally to mean "without forehead," and theorists aren't in full agreement about the connection between the modern meaning of "effrontery" and the literal senses of its roots. Some explain that "frons" can also refer to the capacity for blushing, so a person without "frons" would be "unblushing" or "shameless." Others theorize that since the Romans believed that the brow was the seat of a person's modesty, being without a brow meant being "immodest," or again, "shameless."

Examples of effrontery in a Sentence

the little squirt had the effrontery to deny eating any cookies, even with the crumbs still on his lips
Recent Examples on the Web His crowded, unmasked political rallies were reckless acts of effrontery. Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker, "The Plague Year," 28 Dec. 2020 The book reaches a pitch of patronizing superiority in the sections about Mr. Akhtar’s father, an award-winning cardiologist who briefly treated Donald Trump and then had the effrontery to vote for his former patient in the 2016 election. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: Pox Americana," 23 Oct. 2020 The first major payoff, like subsequent depredations, was both complex—involving a thicket of shell corporations and offshore money-laundering entrepôts—and crude, in view of the fraud’s effrontery. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's Magazine, "The Malaysian Job," 27 Apr. 2020 The weather in Springfield was gusty and frigid, and most people wore parkas and winter hats, but some of the younger attendees, hopped up on adrenaline and public displays of effrontery, got by with hoodies and track pants. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, "Bernie Sanders at the End of the World," 9 Apr. 2020 Saul’s effrontery has long driven fastidious souls from galleries, including me years ago. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The In-Your-Face Paintings of Peter Saul," 10 Feb. 2020 Murphy himself could have been the ambassador to Rudy Ray Moore’s world (his 1980s concert films Raw and Delirious remain favorites among nostalgic young rappers who were emboldened by Murphy’s profanity and effrontery). Armond White, National Review, "Dolemite Is My Name Honors a Surprising Cultural Pioneer," 8 Nov. 2019 In an effrontery to democracy, the Supreme Court just legalized partisan gerrymandering. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Truly end gerrymandering (7/13/19)," 13 July 2019 What wrapped it all together was the insistence that Obama’s effrontery in bypassing Congress was the primary issue. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s Immigration Plan Is Obamacare Repeal All Over," 5 Sep. 2017

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

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First Known Use of effrontery

1697, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for effrontery

French effronterie, ultimately from Medieval Latin effront-, effrons shameless, from Latin ex- + front-, frons forehead

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The first known use of effrontery was in 1697

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Cite this Entry

“Effrontery.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/effrontery. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of effrontery

formal : a very confident attitude or way of behaving that is shocking or rude

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