op·​pro·​bri·​um | \ ə-ˈprō-brē-əm How to pronounce opprobrium (audio) \

Definition of opprobrium

1 : something that brings disgrace
2a : public disgrace or ill fame that follows from conduct considered grossly wrong or vicious Collaborators with the enemy did not escape the opprobrium of the townspeople.
b : contempt, reproach The bombing of the church was met with widespread opprobrium.

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Opprobrium was borrowed into English from Latin in the 17th century. It derives from the Latin verb opprobrare, which means "to reproach." That verb, in turn, came from the noun probrum, meaning "disgraceful act" or "reproach." The adjective form of opprobrium is opprobrious, which in English means "scurrilous" or "infamous." One might commit an "opprobrious crime" or be berated with "opprobrious language," for example. Probrum gave English another word too, but you might have a little trouble guessing it. It is exprobrate, an archaic synonym of censure and upbraid

Examples of opprobrium in a Sentence

They're going ahead with the plan despite public opprobrium. saw no reason why “secretary” should suddenly become a term of opprobrium among the politically correct
Recent Examples on the Web If bad governments veer into committing war crimes and genocide, then the Western companies who work with these regimes risk the same opprobrium that befell Swiss banks, Ford, and IBM for their collaboration with Nazi Germany. David Kamenetzky And Leopoldo López, Fortune, 21 Apr. 2022 The collaborative act opened all parties to the opprobrium of their respective people. New York Times, 7 Jan. 2022 More notable than Hemedti’s public show of allegiance to Russia during this moment of international opprobrium was that Lavrov actually made time for Hemedti at such a critical juncture. Time, 8 Apr. 2022 The plan flopped in the face of opprobrium from fans and national governments. David Hellier, Bloomberg.com, 18 Mar. 2022 His predecessor as prime minister, Theresa May, summed up the gathering sense of opprobrium. New York Times, 31 Jan. 2022 While the resolution is nonbinding, the resolution, if adopted by the General Assembly, would represent a sign of global opprobrium. Washington Post, 1 Mar. 2022 Moreover, in the face of public opprobrium, Shkreli doubled down. Kyler Alvord, PEOPLE.com, 14 Jan. 2022 My opprobrium can be directed in equal measure at the full-of-themselves-for-no-apparent-reason crowds of anti-mask dipsticks across the country who keep taking over popular stores and eateries while refusing to mask up. Rex Huppke, chicagotribune.com, 26 Jan. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of opprobrium

1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for opprobrium

borrowed from Latin, derivative (with -ium, deverbal suffix of function or state) of opprobrāre "to bring up as a reproach," from ob- ob- + -probrāre, verbal derivative of probrum "reproach, insult, disgrace," probably noun derivative of *pro-fro- "brought up against someone (as a reproach)," going back to Indo-European *pro-bhr-o, from *pro- "before" + *bhr-, ablaut grade of *bher- "carry, bring" — more at for entry 1, bear entry 2

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The first known use of opprobrium was in 1647

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Last Updated

7 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Opprobrium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opprobrium. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of opprobrium for Spanish Speakers


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