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 Creaking under the weight of the birds and their odious bodily fluids, the radio tower is becoming increasingly dangerous for workers to climb and maintain. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Vulture Poop Has Compromised a Customs and Border Protection Radio Tower in Texas," 13 Jan. 2020 There is something deeply pathetic about the sheriff’s attempts to curry favor with somebody as odious as Miller. BostonGlobe.com, "Naturally, Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson," 5 Dec. 2019 An experienced male crisis manager could have come up with a similarly odious battle plan. Monica Hesse, Washington Post, "How Lisa Bloom, feminist attorney, became just another complicit Aunt Lydia," 10 Sep. 2019 The white supremacists wear masks inspired by the odious antihero Rorschach from the graphic novel. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "All the Watchmen Easter Eggs and References You Might Have Missed," 22 Oct. 2019 But for all the fun of watching Sweeney exact his revenge on the odious Judge Turpin, CFCArts doesn’t lose sight of the message that a devotion to vengeance destroys the avenger. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "In CFCArts’ ‘Sweeney Todd,’ David Lowe winningly serves up vengeance | Review," 20 Oct. 2019 Kashuv’s coziness with the odious NRA and other conservatives didn’t keep him from being accepted into Harvard. Yvonne Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, "You can call it performance bigotry or hipster racism. But Harvard was right in rescinding Kyle Kashuv’s acceptance," 19 June 2019 There’s plenty of nights where the game’s modern trappings can be annoying, even odious. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "American League wins MLB All-Star Game to extend winning streak to seven games," 9 July 2019 The Montana court’s ruling was based on the state’s Blaine amendment, an artifact of odious 19th-century anti-Catholic bigotry. David French, National Review, "The Words Missing from a New York Times Essay about Religious Liberty," 12 Sep. 2019

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

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Odious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/odious. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for odious


How to pronounce odious (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on odious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for odious

Spanish Central: Translation of odious

Nglish: Translation of odious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of odious for Arabic Speakers

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