Word Geek Column, August 8. 2012
WORD GEEK word of the week: opprobrium

opprobrium: op pro bri um

noun, an occasion, object or cause of reproach, criticism, shame, or disgrace

  1. noun, shameful or disgraceful conduct [now rare usage]
  2. noun, disgrace or bad reputation, shameful or dishonorable conduct
  3. noun, infamy
  4. noun, shame

Plural form: opprobria

Synonyms for noun: contempt, disapproval, inventive, abuse, dishonor

Antonyms: credit, honor

Derivative forms:

adjective: opprobratory – conveying reproach or disapproval

verb: opprobriate – to speak abusively or contemptuously; to vilify (1657)

adverb: opprobriously – with opprobrious language; abusively; insultingly; insolently (1516)

noun: opprobriousness – the quality or fact of being opprobrious (1540)

Sample sentence: It was the opprobrium of the university that the drug scandal involved the cherished football team.

Sample quotation:

“These outrages…have reached a pitch which makes us the opprobrium of the civilized world.”

—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Valley of Fear, 1915

Opprobrium is of Latin origin, from the Latin word obprobrium or opprobrium < opprobare to reproach + ob- in the way of.  Opprobrium came into English between 1656-1684.





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