odi·​ous ˈō-dē-əs How to pronounce odious (audio)
: arousing or deserving hatred or repugnance : hateful
an odious crime
a false and odious comparison
odiously adverb
odiousness noun

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The Origin of Odious

Odious comes from Latin odiosus; that adjective is from the word for "hatred," odium. Odium is related to the English verb annoy, and it is used in English to mean "hatred" or "disgrace."

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
Recent Examples on the Web Just as troubling as this odious act were the thousands who praised Kanye in YouTube comments on KTTV’s story about the banner. Ted Deutch, Variety, 18 Oct. 2023 Renton’s mother, a former Miss America contestant, has used him to advance her odious agenda. Longreads, 11 Aug. 2023 The odious and misleading term starchitect, invented for a cohort of his elders like Frank Gehry (now 94) and Norman Foster (88), applied comfortably to Adjaye. David Adjaye, Curbed, 6 July 2023 And not just any Republican: DeSantis has been one of the most odious and destructive governors in America since January 2019. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 19 June 2023 Kennedy isn’t wrong when he’s said that industry lies about pollution and Big Pharma extracts odious profits while neoliberal bureaucrats shrug. Time, 5 July 2023 In the event that the president has to pick between enforcing the limit on federal borrowing and carrying out spending and tax laws passed by Congress, some scholars have argued that the 14th Amendment means violating the debt limit is the less odious option. Jeff Stein, Washington Post, 31 May 2023 Khloé earned money for an odious program called Revenge Body. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 20 July 2023 This is a Trojan horse for the most odious of mythologies. David Robert Grimes, Scientific American, 29 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'odious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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


Dictionary Entries Near odious

Cite this Entry

“Odious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/odious. Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


odi·​ous ˈōd-ē-əs How to pronounce odious (audio)
: causing hatred or strong dislike : worthy of hatred
odiously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on odious

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