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 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 But the publishing of personal details puts interfaith couples at risk of public opprobrium, family arm-twisting, or worse. Sarita Santoshini, The Christian Science Monitor, "Love and the law: Hindu-Muslim couple challenges India’s marriage rule," 9 Dec. 2020 There was widespread pushback and opprobrium on social media. David Wharton, Los Angeles Times, "A Notre Dame celebration was reckless, but can it teach us about COVID-19 spread?," 14 Nov. 2020 By the late 1930s, isolationism had become a powerful term of opprobrium. Daniel Bessner, The New Republic, "America Has No Duty to Rule the World," 21 Oct. 2020 Guthrie faced both praise and opprobrium on social media, where conservative critics lobbed insults at her and many Democrats praised her. Washington Post, "Savannah Guthrie grilled Trump like few others have, taking the heat off NBC for its town hall," 16 Oct. 2020 If the Lakers blow it from here, up 3-1 and after seizing the first 2-0 finals lead of James’s career, count on the opprobrium directed at James to be louder and harsher than ever. Marc Stein, New York Times, "LeBron James Is Mr. October This Year," 7 Oct. 2020 The wide acclaim, and wide opprobrium, for these justices is a sign of something that has gone wrong in our political culture, in which the Supreme Court looms entirely too large. The Editors, National Review, "Replacing Ginsburg," 20 Sep. 2020 The opprobrium Cuties faces isn’t only from a coordinated campaign. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "How Cuties Got Caught in a Gamergate-Style Internet Clash," 15 Sep. 2020

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

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Opprobrium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opprobrium. Accessed 3 Mar. 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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