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


disgrace, dishonor, reflection, reproach, scandal


credit, honor

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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

Another target for opprobrium is the government of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and especially members of his Foreign Ministry, who are portrayed as bumbling sellouts ready to negotiate Iran’s rights away. Ramin Mostaghim, Los Angeles Times, "Imagine ‘Homeland,’ if all the heroes were Iranian. That’s ‘Gando,’ must-see TV in Iran," 19 July 2019 The spate of warehouse visits hasn’t toned down any of the opprobrium from Amazon’s fiercest critics. Jay Greene, Washington Post, "Amazon’s strategy to win over congressional critics: tours of its giant warehouses," 22 Aug. 2019 Omar, Tlaib and other Jacobins in the Democratic Party single out Israel for special opprobrium. Eli Lake, Twin Cities, "Eli Lake: Trump makes Israel look weak," 18 Aug. 2019 Haftar’s allies have shielded him from international opprobrium, said Gomati. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, "Libya civil war and natural resources attract mix of nations," 2 Aug. 2019 But by overplaying his hand, Mr Iglesias will attract most of the opprobrium. The Economist, "Pedro Sánchez fails to form a coalition in Spain," 25 July 2019 The 33 parents charged, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, received the most attention and opprobrium—the rich and famous robbing deserving students of coveted opportunities. Ben Baskin, SI.com, "Breaking Bad: The False Step and Downfall of Penn Legend Jerome Allen," 11 July 2019 In this iteration, the term neoliberal was embraced not as opprobrium. Lily Geismer, Vox, "Democrats and neoliberalism," 11 June 2019 But this supposed toughness is incompatible with his longing for approval and fear of opprobrium. Boris Johnson, The Economist, "Boris Johnson, illusionist," 4 July 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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Statistics for opprobrium

Last Updated

20 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for opprobrium

The first known use of opprobrium was in 1656

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More Definitions for opprobrium



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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More from Merriam-Webster on opprobrium

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Spanish Central: Translation of opprobrium

Nglish: Translation of opprobrium for Spanish Speakers

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to fake an opponent out of position

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