odi·​ous | \ ˈō-dē-əs How to pronounce odious (audio) \

Definition of odious

: arousing or deserving hatred or repugnance : hateful an odious crime a false and odious comparison

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Other Words from odious

odiously adverb
odiousness noun

The Origin of Odious

Odious has been with us since the days of Middle English. We borrowed it from Anglo-French, which in turn had taken it from Latin odiosus. The Latin adjective came from the noun odium, meaning "hatred." Odium is also an ancestor of the English verb annoy (another word that came to Middle English via Anglo-French). And, at the beginning of the 17th century, odium entered English in its unaltered form, giving us a noun meaning "hatred" or "disgrace" (as in "ideas that have incurred much odium").

Examples of odious in a Sentence

Two of them—his mother Livia and his odious sister Janice—were at heart killers like himself. — Geoffrey O'Brien, New York Review of Books, 16 Aug. 2007 He learned an important lesson some years ago in Panama. Manuel Antonio Noriega was too odious even for Carter, who shunned the Panamanian strongman in the run-up to the 1989 ballot there. — Jim Wooten, New York Times Magazine, 29 Jan 1995 But, alas, I know the real me, the me with the soft, round stomach and the love handles, odious first cousins to the paunch. — Jack McCallum, Sports Illustrated, 30 July 1990 It was one of the most odious crimes of recent history. an odious and unforgivable insult
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Recent Examples on the Web Take the chapter on the harpy, another half-human, half-bird creature, which is especially odious. Barbara Spindel, The Christian Science Monitor, "Harpies, sirens, and other ‘nasty’ women: Going beneath misogyny.," 5 Apr. 2021 Also absent from the piece was equal time from a First Amendment expert who might have pointed out that the most odious speech is often the speech most in need of defending. Jessica Melugin, Fortune, "Don’t put Big Tech or big government in charge of the truth," 25 Mar. 2021 This one was Caroline Norton, wife of Fletcher's even more odious grandson George. Joshua Levine, Travel + Leisure, "Enjoy Pub Life, Sculpture Parks, and Classic Estates on a Scenic Trip Through Yorkshire, England," 7 Mar. 2021 Those who declare civility to be the sine qua non of political discourse are frequently those ever-so-politely promoting the most odious and deplorable policies. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Neera Tanden and the ‘civility’ scam," 24 Feb. 2021 Johnson is a leading member of the Senate's Sedition Caucus, which is shepherded by the odious Josh Hawley of Missouri. Editorial Board, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Editorial: Ron Johnson, Scott Fitzgerald and Tom Tiffany should resign or be expelled for siding with Trump against our republic," 7 Jan. 2021 The story of Matilda was previously adapted for the screen in a 1996 non-musical version, featuring a young Mara Wilson as the title character and Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman as her odious parents. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Netflix's Matilda musical casts newcomer as lead, Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull," 15 Jan. 2021 There is no ideology too odious for corporate money. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "JPMorgan Chase and Amazon Discover Campaign Finance Reform by Way of Social Collapse," 12 Jan. 2021 Doubtless, the members of Congress signing up for this week’s odious little exercise assume they will be rewarded by the ranks of angry Republican voters. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "An Awesome Spectacle of Dishonesty and Opportunism," 4 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'odious.' 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 odious

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for odious

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin odiosus, from odium — see odium

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Time Traveler for odious

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The first known use of odious was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Odious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/odious. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for odious



English Language Learners Definition of odious

formal : causing hatred or strong dislike


odi·​ous | \ ˈō-dē-əs How to pronounce odious (audio) \

Kids Definition of odious

: causing hatred or strong dislike : worthy of hatred

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