Synonym Chooser

How does the verb asperse differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of asperse are calumniate, defame, malign, slander, traduce, and vilify. While all these words mean "to injure by speaking ill of," asperse implies continued attack on a reputation often by indirect or insinuated detraction.

both candidates aspersed the other's motives

When could calumniate be used to replace asperse?

The words calumniate and asperse are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, calumniate imputes malice to the speaker and falsity to the assertions.

falsely calumniated as a traitor

When is it sensible to use defame instead of asperse?

The words defame and asperse can be used in similar contexts, but defame stresses the actual loss of or injury to one's good name.

sued them for defaming her reputation

When is malign a more appropriate choice than asperse?

The synonyms malign and asperse are sometimes interchangeable, but malign suggests specific and often subtle misrepresentation but may not always imply deliberate lying.

the most maligned monarch in British history

Where would slander be a reasonable alternative to asperse?

The meanings of slander and asperse largely overlap; however, slander stresses the suffering of the victim.

town gossips slandered their good name

When might traduce be a better fit than asperse?

In some situations, the words traduce and asperse are roughly equivalent. However, traduce stresses the resulting ignominy and distress to the victim.

so traduced the governor that he was driven from office

When can vilify be used instead of asperse?

Although the words vilify and asperse have much in common, vilify implies attempting to destroy a reputation by open and direct abuse.

no criminal was more vilified in the press


Thesaurus Entries Near asperse

Cite this Entry

“Asperse.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

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