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 After the debate, staffers were baffled that Trump could appear so off-putting and odious after being prepped by two of the nation’s most beloved and appealing public figures. Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker, "Trump Somehow Not Likable Even After Being Coached by Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani," 30 Sep. 2020 Racial hatred and extermination policies are embedded in America’s genes, as the odious rise of Donald J. Trump surely demonstrates. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: COVID-19 vaccines, abortion, learning from history," 25 Sep. 2020 The odious practice, upheld by the Supreme Court in 1915, was outlawed in 1922, two years after women fought successfully to get the right to vote. National Geographic, "The importance of Kamala Harris," 17 Aug. 2020 But Ganesh’s analysis also raises the question of whether Trump’s inflammatory campaign tactics, however cynical and odious, will be sufficient to alter the underlying dynamics of the election. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "New Polls Suggest the Presidential Race Is Still Joe Biden’s to Lose," 4 Sep. 2020 The comparison of a three-foot putt to a life-or-death decision with devastating consequences in the world — hundreds of deaths every year in acts of police violence disproportionately directed at people of color — isn’t just odious as a metaphor. Washington Post, "How to sort the good cops from the rotten: Ask them about Trump’s golf-putt metaphor," 1 Sep. 2020 This seems like an odious work-around for an expensive scope, but not all of us can afford expensive scopes. Ron Spomer, Outdoor Life, "How to Troubleshoot Your Riflescope Zeroing Problems," 7 Aug. 2020 Giving the building a less odious exterior appearance is the least of the obstacles; determining a program for the building, and then accommodating it, will take far greater feats of vision. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, "Say goodbye to the ugliest building in Dallas — and hello to new playgrounds along the Trinity," 9 July 2020 This is a chance to really contextualize why modern-day voter suppression is so odious. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Stacey Abrams talks new census PSA featuring Meryl Streep, Darren Criss, and more," 25 June 2020

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

7 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Odious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/odious. Accessed 25 Oct. 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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