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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Synonyms & Antonyms for 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 Taking cover under complexity has been a common strategy for tobacco companies and big oil — entities that have profited from disaster while seeking ways to avoid any moral opprobrium and expensive accountability. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, "In ‘Empire of Pain,’ the American Dynasty Behind OxyContin," 9 Apr. 2021 The history of Asian-American womanhood is one of simultaneous opprobrium and desire, a history that is at least 150 years old. Genevieve Clutario, Harper's BAZAAR, "It's Time to Reckon with the History of Asian Women in America," 23 Mar. 2021 But Sorkin reserves his harshest opprobrium for the transgressors on his own team, like jolly old Philip Johnson. Hugo Lindgren, Curbed, "Michael Sorkin Taught Me How to Look at New York," 22 Mar. 2021 Which is not to say that all of these newcomers to public opprobrium have stories worth telling beyond cable television news (Hilaria Baldwin, por favor, pay attention). Horacio Silva, Town & Country, "Why the Political Memoir is the Year's Hottest Book Genre," 25 Feb. 2021 Under Sneader’s leadership, McKinsey has repeatedly faced public opprobrium because of its ties to authoritarian governments. Michael Posner, Forbes, "McKinsey Rejects Its Leader; Now, Will It Really Change?," 2 Mar. 2021 Many influencers and celebrities have faced the opprobrium of other social media users who are stuck at home. New York Times, "Influencers Find Welcome in Paradise, While the Rest of Us Watch From Lockdown," 27 Feb. 2021 Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, but for the 17 who voted either to impeach or convict him; many of them are now facing censure and opprobrium from activists back home. Jess Bidgood, BostonGlobe.com, "In three Republican districts, a view of Trump’s continued dominance in the party," 27 Feb. 2021 Another Turkish intervention in 2019, further east in Syria, met still more opprobrium amid accusations of human rights violations under Turkey’s watch. New York Times, "In Turkey’s Safe Zone in Syria, Security and Misery Go Hand in Hand," 16 Feb. 2021

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

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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Time Traveler for opprobrium

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The first known use of opprobrium was in 1647

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Last Updated

25 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Opprobrium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opprobrium. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of opprobrium

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

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