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 If monogamy was anathema to him, so was enduring the opprobrium that the polyamorous suffer. Benjamin Taylor, The Atlantic, "Being Friends With Philip Roth," 21 Apr. 2020 Those who survived something as horrendous as the Parkland shooting do not deserve unnecessary opprobrium. Jack Butler, National Review, "Two Years Later, Don’t Misplace Blame for Parkland," 14 Feb. 2020 O’Connell’s opprobrium was steeped in the language of resurrection. Patrick Mulholland, National Review, "Easter Still Frames the Irish Response to Times of National Crisis," 13 Apr. 2020 By the 1970s, these restrictions had become bitterly controversial, bringing opprobrium on the sports teams fielded by Brigham Young University, a Mormon institution. Erasmus, The Economist, "Overcoming the Mormon legacy on race," 24 July 2019 Stalin overweighted the political importance of a Soviet veto on the Security Council and underweighted the costs of the opprobrium his country would endure during episodes like the Berlin blockade and the Korean War. Benn Steil, WSJ, "‘Eight Days at Yalta’ Review: A Complicated Betrayal," 4 Feb. 2020 The move brought opprobrium even from Trump’s staunch Republican allies, who excoriated the president for allowing one U.S. ally, Turkey, to attack another ally in the Kurds. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, "Turkey begins an offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria," 9 Oct. 2019 Bodley Head; £30 Mao Zedong was a despot who caused tens of millions of deaths; yet his name does not attract the same opprobrium as Hitler’s or Stalin’s. The Economist, "Our books of the year," 7 Dec. 2019 His death sparked worldwide opprobrium, with the CIA and other intelligence agencies assessing that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was behind the killing. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, "A year later, Jamal Khashoggi’s killing has taught regional governments the wrong lessons," 5 Oct. 2019

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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The first known use of opprobrium was in 1656

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Last Updated

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Opprobrium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opprobrium. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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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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