rep·​re·​hen·​si·​ble ˌre-pri-ˈhen(t)-sə-bəl How to pronounce reprehensible (audio)
: worthy of or deserving reprehension : culpable
reprehensibility noun
reprehensibleness noun
reprehensibly adverb

Did you know?

It may be easy to grasp that reprehensible is all about blame, but the word’s origins tell a grabbier story. The word comes from the Latin reprehendere (literally “to hold back”), a combination of re- and prehendere, meaning “to grasp.” Prehendere is at the root of other grasp-related words, among them apprehend, used when grabbing hold of bad guys, comprehend, used when it’s concepts that are grasped, and prehensile, used to describe anatomical features—for example, a monkey’s tail or an elephant’s trunk—that grasp especially by wrapping around. Grasp these words, and there’s nothing reprehensible about your grasp on this little corner of the English lexicon.

Examples of reprehensible in a Sentence

a reprehensible tyrant, who oppressed his country for decades, has finally been brought to justice your behavior towards the other team was truly reprehensible, so you're being suspended from the next three games
Recent Examples on the Web The indiscriminate killing of civilians and hostage-taking, including children and the elderly, is reprehensible. Malaika Jabali, Essence, 20 Oct. 2023 Morality may find such behavior equally reprehensible in private, but etiquette only objects to comments made in the presence of the patient. Jacobina Martin, Washington Post, 5 Oct. 2023 May, in his ruling, said the loss of evidence is reprehensible, but was not done in bad faith. Carol Robinson |, al, 12 Sep. 2023 Emeka Igwe, an attorney for Harmon, said what happened to her is reprehensible and that the purpose of the lawsuit is to hold the administrators responsible. Janelle Griffith, NBC News, 20 Sep. 2023 Ridiculous and reprehensible is a coach who not only thinks he’s empowered to the point of abuse, but who, in fact, is empowered by a lack of policy or oversight at a state university or anywhere else. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Sep. 2023 To the next generation, the millennials, their disengagement from the collective struggle may seem reprehensible. Adam Kirsch, Harper's Magazine, 14 Aug. 2023 Her denial of this reprehensible behavior only adds to our clients’ emotional distress. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 15 Aug. 2023 The reason for all the reprehensible content is clear. Oliver Darcy, CNN, 10 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'reprehensible.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of reprehensible was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near reprehensible

Cite this Entry

“Reprehensible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


rep·​re·​hen·​si·​ble ˌrep-ri-ˈhen(t)-sə-bəl How to pronounce reprehensible (audio)
: worthy of or deserving blame or condemnation
reprehensible acts
reprehensibleness noun
reprehensibly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on reprehensible

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