op·​pro·​bri·​um | \ə-ˈprō-brē-əm \

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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Did You Know?

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

Upon her return to the states, Barb is denounced as a traitor and suspected spy — opprobrium that worsens her terror and tension. F. Kathleen Foley, latimes.com, "'Hostage' at the Skylight Theatre: a shattering slice of the Iranian crisis," 12 June 2018 Bloodshed at the Gaza border may have revived global opprobrium against Israel for use of disproportionate live fire against unarmed protesters, killing dozens; but Trump’s backing gives it reason to feel emboldened. Washington Post, "Mideast conflicts connected by vying powerbrokers," 17 May 2018 The administration was eager to win the men's release to provide good diplomatic news to offset the international opprobrium after Trump on Tuesday withdrew the United States from the 2015 multinational nuclear agreement with Iran. Matt Stiles, latimes.com, "3 American prisoners held in North Korea are freed and on their way home," 10 May 2018 Only the United Methodists, however, can threaten the attorney general with spiritual discipline as well as opprobrium. Jack Jenkins And Emily Mcfarlan Miller, USA TODAY, "600 United Methodists file complaint against Sessions for child abuse, discrimination," 19 June 2018 Prominent Washington journalists, meanwhile, took pains to defend Sanders — earning their own opprobrium from some liberals who asked why reporters were sticking up for an administration that routinely impugns their work. Michael M. Grynbaum, BostonGlobe.com, "Comic routine sets off a furor at an annual Washington dinner," 1 May 2018 Prominent Washington journalists, meanwhile, took pains to defend Ms. Sanders — earning their own opprobrium from some liberals who asked why reporters were sticking up for an administration that routinely impugns their work. New York Times, "Michelle Wolf Sets Off a Furor at White House Correspondents’ Dinner," 29 Apr. 2018 But the free speech rights that every American enjoys do not protect guys like him from the common-sense principle that actions have consequences, some of which may include public opprobrium. Jay Willis, GQ, "Racist Lawyer Aaron Schlossberg Did This All to Himself," 19 May 2018 For all these candidates, violating the law and attracting the opprobrium of the liberal elites or feckless party leaders proves their merit. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Oliver North and the Creation of Donald Trump," 7 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of opprobrium

1656, 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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Time Traveler for opprobrium

The first known use of opprobrium was in 1656

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English Language Learners Definition of opprobrium

: very strong disapproval or criticism of a person or thing especially by a large number of people

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More from Merriam-Webster on opprobrium

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for opprobrium

Spanish Central: Translation of opprobrium

Nglish: Translation of opprobrium for Spanish Speakers

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