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Word Nerd.

by Archives October 4, 2006

Opprobrium:

uh-proh-bree-uhm
noun

This word can be used to denote criticism or censure, as in:
“Her once loved party shenanigans were now met with opprobrium at her mother-in-law’s black tie soiree.”
“His dog’s incessant barking meant that he faced harsh opprobrium from neighbours.”
Opprobrium comes from the Latin word for infamy: Oppobrum. Op = against Probrum = disgraceful act.
While opprobrium in noun form only came into popular usage in about the 1600s, the term opprobrious, as in “opprobrious words,” can be traced back to the 15th century at least. In William Shakespeare’s Richard the III Opprobrium was used in adverb form.
“Think you, my lord, this little prating York/Was not incensed by his subtle mother/To taunt and scorn you thus opprobriously?”
While opprobrious words can cause shame or disgrace, opprobrium denotes a state of disgrace.
As in; “his sustained caterwauling prompted the conductor to relegate him to the back of the choir, and left him in a constant state of opprobrium.”
A word of warning, using this word gratuitously or improperly may elicit harsh opprobrium. Handle with care!

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